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Walter Van Tilburg Clark Papers

 Collection
Identifier: NC527
The collection has been divided into a 6 series and many subseries that cover Clark’s teaching and writing as well as personal correspondence. The papers contain notes for class and public lectures; manuscripts of, and notes about Clark's term papers, short stories, articles, and novels, both published and unpublished; scrapbooks containing material related to published works, such as dust jackets, letters received, reviews, and articles about Clark. There are business and literary related correspondence including letters to former students such as author David Madden; personal correspondence, primarily to Clark's wife Barbara Frances Morse Clark, his son Robert M. Clark, and Robert Cole Caples, a close friend and artist. It also includes marginalia, and loose-leaf notes in books used in preparation for class lectures; published works by former students; and memorabilia such as diplomas and certificates.

Dates

  • 1927-1971

Creator

Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

The literary rights to the writings of Walter Van Tilburg Clark remain with the family estate, of which Robert Clark is the executor. Therefore, copying of any of the papers with the intention of publishing should not be done without the permission of Robert Clark.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Literary and copyrights retained by Robert M. Clark.

Extent

13 Cubic Feet (13 boxes)

Abstract

Notes for class and public lectures; manuscripts of, and notes about Clark's term papers, short stories, articles, and novels, both published and unpublished; scrapbooks containing material related to published works, such as dust jackets, letters received, reviews, and articles about Clark; business and literary related correspondence including letters to former students such as author David Madden; personal correspondence, primarily to Clark's wife Barbara Frances Morse Clark, son Robert M. Clark, and Robert Cole Caples; marginalia, and looseleaf notes in books used in preparation for class lectures; published works by former students; and memorabilia such as diplomas and certificates.

Biographical Note

Walter Van Tilburg Clark (1909-1971) was a western author, the editor of the Alfred Doten journals, a 3-volume work published by the University of Nevada Press in 1973, a lecturer at the University of Nevada, Reno, and a writer-in-residence at the University of Nevada, Reno, between 1962 and 1971.

Clark may be best known for his first published novel, The Ox-Bow Incident, published by Random House in 1940, due to the fact that it was made into a feature film in 1943, starring Henry Fonda. However, many of his short stories, such as “Hook,” “The Buck in the Hills” and “The Wind and the Snow of Winter,” earned him respect nationally. In 1949, Random House again published another of his works, Track of the Cat, which was well received. Additional works, such as his novel, The City of Trembling Leaves, and a short story collection, The Watchful Gods and Other Stories, are also well known publications.

While Clark lived in Vermont, Maine, New York, New Mexico, California and Montana at various times during his life, he moved his family to Virginia City, Nevada in 1942, where he taught at the local high school for the 1950/1951 school year. In 1952, he accepted a half-time position at the University of Nevada, Reno, but resigned in protest in 1953 over a faculty and administration dispute. In 1954 he moved away but contracted to work on a Nevada-related topic, the Alfred Doten diaries editing project and biography. He published the 3-volume work The Journals of Alfred Doten, 1849-1903, in 1973 (University of Nevada Press). He moved to the San Francisco Bay area and taught creative writing at San Francisco State. By 1968, he and his wife had moved back to Virginia City, Nevada, and he remained there until his death on November 10, 1971.

Arrangement

The Walter Van Tilburg Clark Papers are divided into the following 6 series and several subseries:

Series 1: Manuscripts, Typescripts, Notes

Subseries 1.1
Notes for class and public lectures
Subseries 1.2
Miscellaneous non-fiction
Subseries 1.3
“On Learning to Look: A Note on the Working Life of Robert Cole Caples”
Subseries 1.4
Projected novel, Admission Day
Subseries 1.5
Projected novel, The Man in the Hole
Subseries 1.6
Projected novel, Way Station
Subseries 1.7
Unfinished short stories
Subseries 1.8
Published short stories, typescripts
Subseries 1.9
Unpublished short stories, typescripts
Subseries 1.10
Writing notes
Subseries 1.11
Alf Doten Materials
Subseries 1.12
“The Watchful Gods” and “Willis and the Holy Water”
Subseries 1.13
Water
Subseries 1.14
unfinished novel
Subseries 1.15
“Reno-The State City”
Subseries 1.16
Notes on own published works, manuscript
Subseries 1.17
“The Professor and the Writer”
Subseries 1.18
The Queen is a Powerful Piece
Subseries 1.19
Ambrose, the Chess-Playing Poodle
Subseries 1.20
The Angel and the Judge
Subseries 1.21
Poetry
Subseries 1.22
Marginalia in student texts

Series 2: Personal-Teaching, Literary Business, Clippings, Photographs

Subseries 2.1
Autobiographical and bibliographical statement
Subseries 2.2
Teaching, University of Nevada, Reno, 1965-1969
Subseries 2.3
Other class records
Subseries 2.4
Fiction contest judging
Subseries 2.5
Photos (Photos transferred to photo archives as UNRS-P2269)
Subseries 2.6
The Ox-Box Incident, Scrapbook
Subseries 2.7
The City of Trembling Leaves, Scrapbook
Subseries 2.8
The Track of the Cat, Scrapbook
Subseries 2.9
The Watchful Gods and Other Stories
Subseries 2.10
Account books
Subseries 2.11
Miscellaneous business correspondence and literary business
Subseries 2.12
Newspaper clippings and honorary items, 1949-1971

Series 3: Personal Correspondence

Subseries 3.1
Christmas cards
Subseries 3.2
Letters from Dee Herrmann and Jim Green
Subseries 3.3
Lease for home in Reno
Subseries 3.4
Letters to and from Reno Pump Supply
Subseries 3.5
Letters to wife, Barbara Frances Morse Clark
Subseries 3.6
Letters to son, Robert Morse Clark, and daughter, Barbara Ann Clark
Subseries 3.7
Letters to Saxe Commins
Subseries 3.8
Letter to agent
Subseries 3.9
Letters from Jack Gottlieb
Subseries 3.10
Letters to Robert Cole Caples
Subseries 3.11
Letters from Charlton G. Laird collection
Subseries 3.12
Letters to David Madden
Subseries 3.13
Letter from Clark to friend, Muriel, and Great Basin Magazine
Series 4: Marginalia and Notes

Series 5: Works of Former Students

Series 6: Memorabilia

Subseries 6.1
Diplomas, certificates and awards
Subseries 6.2
Academic gown

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Estate of Walter Van Tilburn Clark in 1971.

Related Materials

Note: Many of Clark’s published materials, including a song sheet for “City of Trembling Leaves” may be found in the Department’s book collection.

Note: An adaptation of The Track of the Cat for the stage can be found in the Reno Little Theater collection: NC277/3/CT3 (Box 6)

Separated Materials

Photos were transferred to the photo archives as UNRS-P2269.

Creator

Title
A Guide to the Papers of Walter Van Tilburg Clark
Status
completed
Author
Robert M. Clark and Kenneth J. Carpenter
Date
1972
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)