- TxAM-CRS 24
This collection supplements Part One of William A. Owens, in that it emphasizes the years from 1972 to 1980, yet also contains correspondence written prior to 1972. Therefore, it adds much to the first collection.
The collection is divided into seven categories. These are: Personal correspondence 1940-1980 (Series. 1-3), which also includes some printed reviews of Owens' books; Transcripts of the tapes containing the "Oral History of Texas Oil Pioneers" (Series. 4); Research materials, manuscripts and drafts for unpublished books written by Owens (Series. 5-8); Shorter works by Owens (Series. 9); Works written by other authors (Series. 10), and; Miscellaneous materials and drafts collected by Owens (Series. 11-13). Of special interest in this collection is correspondence concerned with Owens' books, letters from World War II, and the various drafts of books by Owens which have not been published.
Owens' personal correspondence files are further divided into three more specific categories. The first covers primarily the period 1972-1980 but also includes papers dating from prior to this period. This correspondence is broken down alphabetically according to a key word in the subject, name, company, or book. Within the letter grouping the papers are filed chronologically. The undated material follows the last dated papers. The compilers of the collection attempted as much as possible to keep the material grouped as Owens himself had had it arranged. This material contains correspondence with friends and fans on the writing and publication of his books, with organizations Owens participated in, on awards won by Owens, about folk songs, on the writing of other authors, and other various topics. To be especially noted about the dramatizations of This Stubborn Soil.
The second division of personal correspondence primarily covers 1940-1965. These letters are broken down by their subject matter and then arranged chronologically. The subjects covered are Owens war letters and letters with Annie Laurie Williams, who was Owens' literary agent.
The third division of the correspondence files covers Owens' tour with the National Humanities Series in 1972 and 1973. The production was entitled "Frontiers: Settling a Nation," and consisted of Owens and a folksinger. The papers include correspondence concerning the itineraries, reviews, and other matters of the tour. The first nine boxes hold this personal correspondence.
Also included in the correspondence files are the printed reviews of books authored by Owens. They are predominantly newspaper reviews although some were printed in journals and magazines. The reviews are broken down by title and arranged chronologically.
Filling the next seven boxes are the transcripts of the "Oral History of Texas Oil Pioneers" tapes. These are filed by the number of the tape. There are transcripts from 218 tapes.
The manuscripts of books written by Owens since 1975 compose the next category of the collection. The five titles of the books are Caves of Arayat, Running in Place, Japanese Soldiers in World War II, Not So Far Away, Not So Long Ago, Special Agent 2142, and the second edition of Texas Folk Songs. Of these books, only Texas Folk Songs, 2nd edition, has been published (1976). The first three works concern World War II, and the fourth is the third volume of Owens' autobiography. There are many drafts of each book, some having different titles. The drafts are filed from earliest to latest. Some of the drafts were not identified and have been filed as accurately as possible. The labels of the drafts include the number of the draft, whether it is typescript or a copy, and whether or not it contains written notes. The labels "manuscript" and "typescript" were used interchangeably.
One may find it interesting to examine the various drafts and trace the development of the books. Not So Far Away, Not So Long Ago, for example, has thirteen drafts and four different titles. The drafts are in good condition and are usually complete.
There are also numerous shorter works written by Owens. These are predominantly articles, essays, and short stories. Most of them appear in printed form, but some were never published. Of interest in an essay written for a Bicentennial essay contest which Owens subsequently used for a lecture.
This collection also contains three boxes of short works by other writers. These include histories of World War II operations in which Owens participated, articles on folklore and ethnic groups, and other topics which interested Owens. There are many works that were sent to Owens by students and friends for him to critique. Of special interest are two biographies of Owens and short stories by J. Frank Dobie.
The final category of the boxed papers contain miscellaneous material collected by Owens which includes magazines, pamphlets, and other material.
Separated from the collection is sixty books which Owens included in the collection. Most pertain to fields which Owens researched such as folksongs, ethnic groups in Texas, history of the oil industry, and others.
Also separated, are oversized materials such as Owens' Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts diplomas from Southern Methodist University, two large prints of an oil gusher, four parts of a copy of an old map of Virginia, and a copy of an 1898 map of Jefferson County, Texas.
Owens, William A., 1905-1990