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Wittliff Collections curator named Texas Institute of Letters president

Steven L. Davis
Steven L. Davis

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
April 27, 2016

Wittliff Collections curator Steve Davis has been named the new president of the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL).

Founded in 1936, the TIL recognizes distinctive literary achievement by inducting elected members, annually providing major book awards, and supporting the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship for writers.

Davis, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State, has worked at the Wittliff Collections since 1994. He is the award-winning author and editor of five books. In 2014 he received a PEN USA Award for Research Nonfiction for his book Dallas 1963, co-authored with Bill Minutaglio. His other books include Texas Literary Outlaws and J. Frank Dobie: A Liberated Mind.

“It’s such an honor to be chosen to lead the Texas Institute of Letters,” Davis said. “My experience at Texas State has well prepared me for this.”

Davis points out that the TIL has long been a common meeting ground for many of the greatest writers associated with the state, from Cormac McCarthy and Sandra Cisneros to Larry McMurtry and J. Frank Dobie. “The Wittliff Collections preserves and celebrates these same writers, so it’s a very natural fit.”

Davis acknowledged two key mentors who previously served as TIL Presidents.

“Dr. Mark Busby of Texas State’s English Department was the most influential and inspiring professor I’ve had,” Davis said. “Every day I use the knowledge he passed on to me.”

Davis also credited Bill Wittliff, who along with his wife, Sally, founded the Wittliff Collections at Texas State in 1986.

“By starting these collections here, Bill planted so many seeds, placing his faith in future generations,” Davis said. “Whatever accomplishments I have are a testament to his vision.”

Housed on the top floor of the Albert B. Alkek Library, the Wittliff Collections celebrate the creative legacy of Texas and the Southwest by collecting, preserving, and making available the works of the region’s leading writers, songwriters, and filmmakers, along with major photographers from the Southwest and Mexico.

For more information on the Texas Institute of Letters, visit www.texasinstituteofletters.org.