||The materials in the Tim O'Brien Papers span not only his long career as an author,
also much of his life from his birth in Austin, Minnesota, through his teaching career
Texas State University San Marcos. The bulk of the collection is made up of materials
related to his novels and short stories, such as drafts, typescripts, proofs,
correspondence, interviews, reviews, and book promotion and publishing items, but
present are smaller amounts of personal and family records containing items as varied
O'Brien's baby book; short stories he wrote in junior high school; correspondence
summer he was drafted, basic training, and his tour of duty in Vietnam; more than
hundred photographs of O'Brien and family members; and personal documents such as
parents' marriage certificate, birth certificates, and honorable discharge documents.
|| The papers are arranged in six series: I. Works, 1970-2007; II. Correspondence, 1977-2007;
III. Career-Related, 1970-2007; IV. Family and Personal Records, 1916-2007; V. Works
Others, 1982-2006; and VI. Published Material, 1941-2006. Upon arrival, the majority
material was arranged roughly in the present order; i.e., mainly grouped by novel,
boxes containing unrelated items that were arranged into corresponding series. O’Brien’s
handwritten comments appear throughout. Some of his notations appear to have been
for a contemporary second party; others seem directed at future researchers.
|| Series I. Works is further divided into two subseries, A. Novels, 1970-2007, and
Works, 1970-2004. O'Brien's novels are well represented in Subseries A. with typescripts,
proofs, and galleys, almost all with various amounts of revision, editing, and proofreading
corrections, often in O'Brien's hand. Each novel also has at least two folders of
correspondence comprised of business and fan mail, as well as additional folders of
interviews, reviews, promotion and production materials such as advertisements, reading
announcements, and dust jacket proofs, and related works by others, including stage,
and television scripts, theses, and dissertations. (Series V. contains additional
others, and Series VI. contains short story excerpts from each novel as published
|| Subseries B. Short Works contains drafts and proofs for essays, short stories, and
written between 1989-2004, as well as some tearsheets from serials in which some of
drafts were finally published. (Series VI. has a number of the actual serials as well.)
present in Subseries B. are materials related to "Vietnam in Me," an article in which O'Brien describes his return to
Vietnam more than twenty years after fighting there, including a final draft, article
contract, trip itinerary and notes, photographs, and research materials.
|| The Correspondence Series contains chronological files of career-related and fan
well as alphabetical files of correspondence from other writers including Ray Bradbury,
Caputo, Raymond Carver, James Grady, John Irving, Naomi Nye, Joyce Carol Oates, George
Plimpton, Oliver Stone, James Webb, and Tobias Wolff. Perhaps most significant is
"literary correspondence" file, arranged chronologically, which O'Brien describes
pretty fair stuff about my early thinking/plans" regarding his writing.
|| Series III. Career-Related contains a large group of financial papers primarily made
literary contracts and royalty statements for novels, although some materials relate
awards, grants, and endowments. Also present are interviews and reviews, notes and
materials, speeches, lectures, and teaching notes, as well as some photographs.
|| Series IV. Family and Personal Records primarily spans O'Brien family history beginning
with the lives of O'Brien's parents before his birth, documented by certificates of
marriage, and military discharge as well as some photographs, and continuing through
years at Harvard University, documented by class notes, school records, and photographs.
intervening years are represented by O'Brien's baby book and photograph, baptism record,
correspondence prior to and during his military service, junior high school through
Macalester College correspondence, newspaper clippings, and school records, and a
containing material related to Lorna Lou Moeller, a childhood friend on whom the character
of Linda in The Things They Carried was modeled.
|| Series V. Works by Others contains play and movie scripts, theses, criticism, a
bibliography, and short works of fiction by fans, scholars, and professional writers.
|| Series VI. Published Material, is divided into four subseries, A. Fiction, B. Book
Reviews, C. Interviews Given by and Articles about Tim O'Brien, and D. General Periodicals.
Subseries A. is arranged alphabetically by novel, listing the serial publications
corresponding stories or chapter excerpts were published. Subseries B. is arranged
alphabetically by title of publication with the article title and year of publication
listed, while Subseries C. and D. are arranged by alphabetical title only. Overall
collection is in good condition.