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Wittliff Collections prepares to open Cormac McCarthy archives

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
May 15, 2009

Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy (Photo by Derek Sharpton)

The excitement and anticipation surrounding the Cormac McCarthy Papers is growing as the Wittliff Collections finalize plans for opening the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s archives at Texas State University’s Alkek Library in San Marcos. The first researcher is scheduled for May 18.
 
Due to limited research space, access to the McCarthy Papers will be provided by appointment only. The Wittliff Collections request form for scheduling is online: http://www.library.txstate.edu/about/departments/swwc/research-req-form.html. Research hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Hours are subject to change during University breaks and interim sessions; closed on holidays.
 
Author of such acclaimed novels as Blood Meridian and No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy was awarded the Pulitzer in 2007 for The Road, which has been made into a soon-to-be-released feature film with Viggo Mortensen in the lead role.
 
Aside from a few select pieces the Wittliff has displayed in recent exhibitions and printed in their newsletter, The Keystone, this will be the first time McCarthy’s drafts and manuscripts will be seen by the public. Scholars will have a chance to study the legendary author’s research, note taking, and writing processes, which have remained a mystery until now.
 
Following the acquisition of the McCarthy archives in late Dec. 2007, Wittliff Collections Lead Archivist Katie Salzmann conducted a comprehensive inventory and re-housed the material in acid-free boxes, many of which she specially constructed. Salzmann then spent months organizing the papers according to archival standards and describing them at the item level for the finding aid, including a complete pagination for the more complicated drafts containing McCarthy’s sometimes puzzling page-numbering systems.
 
The fully processed collection stands at almost 100 boxes and includes correspondence, notes, hand-written and typed drafts, setting copies, proofs, and other materials documenting McCarthy’s career. The finding aid, plus a link to the Wittliff Collections original news story about the acquisition, is available online: http://thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu/swwc/archives/writers/cormac.htm.
 
The official opening of the McCarthy papers was to coincide with a late-spring dedication of the Wittliff Collections’ expanded reading room, which is currently being constructed alongside new and larger exhibition spaces for the Wittliff’s photography collection. Although delays in construction have pushed the dedication to early fall, Curator Connie Todd is working with Salzmann and her archives staff to establish a secure interim reading room, and the papers will be made available to the first scheduled patrons on May 18.
 
The Wittliff Collections are on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library at Texas State University in San Marcos, located along the I-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio. Phone: (512) 245-2313. Online: http://www.thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu.