Edward Abbey papers, 1947-1990

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Edward Abbey papers, 1947-1990

MS 271

Collection Summary

Creator: Abbey, Edward.
Collection Name:Papers of Edward Abbey,
Inclusive Dates: 1947-1990
Physical Description:12.1 feet
Abstract:Papers, 1947-1990, of Edward Abbey, author. Contains biographical materials, correspondence, journals, notebooks, speeches, manuscripts, articles, audiotapes, videotapes, and supplemental materials documenting his life and career.
Collection Number:MS 271
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collection
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733
URL: http://speccoll.library.arizona.edu/

Biographical Note

Edward Abbey was born on 29 January 1927 in Home, Pennsylvania, the eldest son of five children born to Mildred and Paul Abbey. At seventeen, he first hitchhiked across the West on a three month journey. From 1945 to 1946, he served in the U.S. Army in Alabama and Italy.

In 1948, while attending the University of New Mexico, Abbey began work on his first novel, Jonathan Troy (1956). In 1951, he earned a BA in English and Philosophy from that university, and published an article, "Some Implications of Anarchy." That same year Abbey received a Fullbright Fellowship to Edinburgh University. In the early 1950s, he worked as a social welfare case worker in New Jersey and New York.

In 1956, he received a MA in Philosophy from the University of New Mexico; his graduate thesis was titled "Anarchism and the Morality of Violence." The following year, he received a Writing Fellowship at Stanford University.

Abbey worked part-time as a park ranger and fire lookout in the national parks and forests of the southwestern United States. He would continue this work until the 1970s. With the publication of The Monkey Wrench Gang, he was able to devote his time more fully to writing. Abbey gave public readings and presentations at many American colleges and universities, and for the environmental causes and groups he supported. In 1974, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. During this time, Abbey was "Writer in Residence" at the University of Utah and, later, at the University of Arizona. He taught creative writing at the latter from 1981 onwards, and became a full professor there in 1988.

Abbey died 14 March 1989 in Tucson Arizona at the age of 62. Married five times, he was survived by his wife, Clarke Cartwright Abbey, and his five children.

His selected major novels include: The Brave Cowboy (1956), Fire on the Mountain (1962), Black Sun (1971), The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975), Good News (1980), The Fool's Progress (1988), and Hayduke Lives! (1990). His essays and observations are compiled in Desert Solitaire (1968), The Journey Home (1977), Abbey's Road (1979), Desert Images (1981), One Life at a Time, Please (1987), and Vox Clamantis in Deserto (1989). He produced several travel books Appalachian Wilderness (1970), Slickrock (1971), Cactus Country (1972), and The Hidden Canyon (1978). He contributed to divers college anthologies, and wrote numerous articles and reviews for national and regional publications.

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the collection best documents Abbey's writings and activities during the last two decades of his life, 1969 to 1989. Over half of the collection consist of drafts of his novels, essays, articles, and other works. There are no drafts for his earlier novels, Jonathan Troy, The Brave Cowboy, and Fire on the Mountain, nor for Appalachian Wilderness and The Hidden Canyon.

His personal life and professional career are summarily described in the Biographical Materials. Interviews and recordings of Abbey are available in that series, and in the Audio-visual series. Articles about him as a writer and defender of the environment are located in the Works series.

His frank Outgoing Correspondence and Journals provide a thorough account of his life and thoughts. Especially in the Journals, he chronicles the progress or regression of his writings; his love for family, friends, colleagues, and classical music; his thoughts on contemporary society; notes for his fictional characters; snippets of conversations overheard, jokes told, or gossip exchanged; his observations on daily life and trips taken; rough drafts of letters to be sent to editors or friends; and a other notes worth noting.

See the Series Descriptions below for a fuller narrative of the contents of each.


This collection is organized into 7 series.





Retained by Ms. Clarke Abbey. It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Abbey, Edward, 1927- -- Archives.
Dillard, Annie -- Correspondence.
Eastlake, William -- Correspondence.
Harrington, Alan, 1919- -- Correspondence.
Hoagland, Ted -- Correspondence.
Lopez, Barry Holstun, 1945- -- Correspondence.
Nichols, John Treadwell, 1940- -- Correspondence.

Geographic Name(s)
Arizona -- Fiction.
Southwest, New -- Description and travel.
West (U.S.) -- In literature -- Archival resources.

Authors, American -- 20th century -- Archives.
Civil disobedience.
Conservation of natural resources -- Citizen participation.
Deserts in literature.
Environmental literature -- Archival resources.

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Edward Abbey papers(MS 271).Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Series 1: Biographical Information, 1947-1989
Contains personal data relating to his family and career, including University of Arizona teaching files, memorials and tributes written after his death, interviews with Abbey appearing in various publications such as Bloomsbury Review, and The Mother Earth News [see also Audio-visual Materials for additional untranscribed interviews]; and a Federal Bureau of Investigation file on him obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
11 Certificates, resumes, vita, family tree, 1947-1988
12 University of Arizona teaching file, 1988-1989
13 Memorials and tributes, 1989
14-5 Interviews, 1969-1988
16 F.B.I. file, 1982
Series 2: Correspondence, 1966-1989
Family correspondents include his children Aaron, Joshua, and Susie; his siblings John, Nancy, and Bill Abbey; one of his wives, Judy Abbey; and a larger set from his parents Mildred and Paul Abbey.
Incoming and outgoing folders contain letters to and from Abbey chiefly regarding his writing. Selected correspondents include: Horace Albright; Carroll Ballard; Wendell Berry; Don Congdon (literary agent); Annie Dillard; William Eastlake; Lawrence Ferlinghetti; Alan Harrington; Ted Hoagland; Richard Lamm; Jack Loeffler; Barry Lopez; John Macrae (publisher and editor); John G. Mitchell; John Nichols; Doug Peacock; Robert Redford; Norman Sanders; Pete Seeger; and Gary Snyder. Also includes unsorted "letters to the editor" about Abbey and his writings, and "fan" mail.
Series 2.1: Family Correspondence, 1966-1988
17 Children, 1976-1988
18 Siblings, 1967-1987
21-2 Parents: Mildred and Paul Abbey, 1966-1988
23 Abbey, Judy, 1967
Subseries 2.2: Incoming Correspondence, 1967-1989
24-12 Incoming, A-Z, 1967-1989
31 Ballard, Carroll (Monkey Wrench Gang Screenplay), 1985-1987
32 Congdon, Don (Literary Agent), 1970-1986
33 Reader comments on articles, 1970-1980s
34 Fan mail, 1987-1988
Subseries 2.3: Outgoing Correspondence, 1969-1989
35-20 Outgoing, 1967-1989
Series 3: Journals, 1951-1989
Contains mostly handwritten accounts of his daily activities and reflections on his personal relationships and professional accomplishments, especially in his journals numbered four through twenty accounting for the years 1951-89 [journals one through three are missing]. Also includes smaller chronicles on a hospital stay, various trips, and other activities. Abbey recorded additional diaries and trips in his Notebooks in the following series.
41-9 Journals 4-12, 1951-1966
51-8 Journals 13-20, 1966-1989
61 A Hospital Journal, no date
62 Lookout's Logbook, Glacier National Park, 1975
63 Cabeza Prieta walks, 1980 [?], 1984
64 Trip: Kansas to Home, PA., 1986; Earth First! Rally, 1986
65 Trip: Grand Gulch; Notes on drag-line machine, 1988
Series 4: Notebooks and Speeches, 1951-1988
Chiefly notebooks with handwritten notes pertaining to ideas, characters, dialogue, and revision of his novels, articles and speeches. Also contains typescripts of speeches, some with corrections and additions, given by Abbey over two decades, from 1968 to 1988.Additional speeches are found in the Audio visual Materials.
71 The Brave Cowboy, no date
72 The Good Life, no date
73 Great books of anarchism; Black Sun, ca. 1951
74 Untitled, ca. 1962-1970
75 Speeches, no dates
76 Speeches, 1968-1975
77 Speeches, 1976-1988
78 Speeches/Notes: Boro Council Minutes, Seneca Evening Gazette, Desert Solitaire, 1969
79 Speeches/Notes: Monkey Wrench Gang, 1970
81-6 Speeches/Notes, 1972- ca.1980s
87 Speeches/Notes: Lake Foul (Powell) trip, teaching, 1982
88 Speeches/Notes: Hopi runners, Oraibi trip, 1982
89 Speeches/Notes: Alaska trip, teaching, 1983
810 Speeches/Notes, 1984
811 Speeches/Notes: Telluride, 1986
Series 5: Works, 1951-1990
Subseries 5.1: Manuscripts, 1959-1990
Arranged alphabetical by title. Contains original handwritten, typed, carbons, photocopied, and revised manuscripts mostly of Abbey's published novels and essays. Some titles lack complete versions of text. Many of the drafts were undated, and many contained handwritten corrections in ink and pencil by the author. When available, descriptive notes for the folder headings were copied from envelopes containing the manuscripts. Some manuscripts for earlier titles are not present.
91 Abbey's Road (fragment, chapter 4), n.d.
92 "Anarchism and the Morality of Violence," (M.A. thesis), 1959
93-4 Beyond the Wall typescript with corrections, no date
95 Beyond the Wall draft, fragment with corrections, 1983
96 Beyond the Wall galley proof with corrections, 1983
97-9 Black Sun original manuscript, no date
101-2 Black Sun revised manuscript, 1970
103 Cactus Country 1st draft, 1971
104 Cactus Country 2nd draft, no date
105 City of Dreadful Night original manuscript, no date
111-2 City of Dreadful Night original manuscript, no date
113 Desert Images, 1979
114 Desert Music, 1976
115-6 Desert Solitaire original manuscript, 1967
117-8 Desert Solitaire revised manuscript, 1967
119 Down the River, 1980
121-2 Good News corrected manuscript, no date
123-4 Good News revised carbon, 1980
125-6 Good News master, 1st pass, 1980
131 Fool's Progress outlines, no date
132-6 Fool's Progress draft handwritten, no date
141-6 Fool's Progress original typescript with corrections, no date
151 Fool's Progress original typescript with corrections, no date
152-5 Fool's Progress, draft typescript with corrections, no date
161 Fool's Progress, draft typescript with corrections, no date
162-6 Fool's Progress proof with corrections, 1988
167-8 Fool's Progress, addition to Avon edition, 1990
171 Good Life outline, notes, no date
172 Good Life draft with corrections, no date
173 Hayduke Lives! outline, notes, no date
174-7 Hayduke Lives! original typescript, 1988
181-2 Hayduke Lives! carbons, 1988
183-5 Hayduke Lives! photocopy with editing by Clarke, no date
186-7 Hayduke Lives! retyped by Little, Brown, 1989
191-2 Journey Home draft corrected, 1976
193-6 Monkey Wrench Gang 1st draft typescript with corrections, no date
201 Monkey Wrench Gang 1st draft typescript with corrections, no date
202-6 Monkey Wrench Gang draft typescript with corrections, 1975
207 Monkey Wrench Gang miscellaneous carbons, Avon ed., chapter 21, no date
211 One Life at a Time, Please original and carbons, ca. 1988
212-5 One Life at a Time, Please draft with corrections, 1988
216-7 One Life at a Time, Please proofs author's and marked set, no date
221 One Life at a Time, Please proofs 1st revised master set, no date
222 Slickrock typescript with corrections, 1970-1971
223 Vox Clamantis in Deserto agreement and original (photocopy) for Rydal Press, 1989
224 notes, drafts with corrections, carbons, 1989
Subseries 5.2: Screenplays, 1969-1988
Arranged by title. Contains typescripts, carbons, and corrections to two novels that were considered for adaptation to film. The bulk relates to The Monkey Wrench Gang, and has scripts by Abbey and others. Correspondence between Abbey and Carroll Ballard is filed in that series.
231 Black Sun 1st draft, 1969
232 Black Sun carbon, no date
233 Monkey Wrench Gang notes, 1986
234-9 Monkey Wrench Gang scripts by Abbey and others, 1985-1988
Subseries 5.3: Articles by Abbey, 1951-1990
Arranged chronologically. Contains typescripts, tearsheets and photocopies of essays and articles published in a wide variety of journals, newspapers, and similar publications. The predominant themes of the articles are his experiences as a park ranger and river runner, and his views on the current state of culture and the environment. Many of his "letters to the editors" are found in the Correspondence series; outlines and notes to some articles may be found in the Journal and Notebook series.
241-10 Undated, 1951-1979
251-3 , 1980-1990
Subseries 5.4: Book Reviews by Abbey, 1969-1988
254-5 , 1969-1988
Subseries 5.5: Plays, no date
256 "Best of the West: a morality in one short act," , no date
Subseries 5.6: Poems, 1965-1980s
257 , 1965-1980s
Subseries 5.7: Articles about Abbey, 1964-1990
258-10 , 1964-1990
Subseries 5.8: Reviews of Abbey's Works, 1954-1990
261 Abbey's Road, 1979
262 Beyond the Wall, 1984
263 Brave Cowboy, 1962-1968
264 Desert Solitaire, 1968-1988
265 Down the River, 1982
266 Fool's Progress, 1988-1989
267 Good News, 1981
268 Hayduke Lives!, 1989-1990
269 Journey Home, 1977
2610 Monkey Wrench Gang, 1975-1976
2611 One Life at a Time, Please, 1988
2612 Vox Clamantis, 1990
2613 Miscellaneous, 1954-1988
Series 6: Audio-visual materials, 1959-1989
Arranged by record type, then chronologically. Contains audio cassette tapes, video cassette tapes, microfilm, and a photograph. The captions for the titles were taken from the annotations on the containers, and not all materials were screened for verification of contents. Master copies of the tapes were made and are in Box 30.
The tapes are chiefly interviews and speeches by or about Abbey. Of interest are tapes of a cross-country trip by Abbey from Arizona to Pennsylvania.
The microfilm is of issues of a newspaper El Crepusculo de la Libertad (Taos, New Mexico) during Abbey's editorship; original copies are also present.
One color photograph shows a man wearing a tee-shirt with a quote from Abbey's fictional character G.W. Hayduke on the back side. There are no portraits of Abbey in this series.
Subseries 6.1: Audio cassette tapes, 1976-1989
271 Interview, Channel 3, March 1976
272 University of Denver, May 3, 1976
273 University of Arizona, February 2, 1977
274-5 Interview with Jack Loeffler, January 1, 1983
276 University of Montana, April 1, 1985
277-9 Road trip: Oracle, Arizona to Home, Pennsylvania, ca. 1987
2710 New Dimensions, October 28, 1988
2711 Earth First! Rally, Tucson, Ariz., Ed Abbey, Dave Forman, Bill Oliver, March 4, 1989
2712 Memorial for Ed Abbey, May 20, 1989
2713-14 Vic and Don, no date
Subseries 6.2: Microfilm, 1959-1960
281 El Crepusculo de la Libertad, October 29, 1959 to January 21, 1960
282-3 El Crepusculo, original copies, XI:44-49, 51-52; XII:1-4
Subseries 6.3: Photographs
284 Hayduke tee-shirt, no date
Subseries 6.4: Video cassettes, 1983-1988
28 KAET (Phoenix, Ariz.): "Edward Abbey's Road," , 1983
28 KCET: "Wilderness Journal," , 1983
28 Speech: Lewis-Clark State College, March 24, 1985
28 NBC Almanac (Out in the Rocks?), 1986
28 "3rd Annual Archdruid Lecture Series" : Sierra Club benefit, Salt Lake City, Utah, January 15, 1988
28 Cracking of the Glen Canyon Damn.
28 "Remembering Edward Abbey," by Shawn Emery. Uses above materials, 39 minutes, 44 seconds, 1992
Series 7: Supplemental materials, 1974-1988
Contains sundry printed and handwritten items by or about Abbey including notes; clippings on his friends, Dave Foreman, Ken Sleight, and Doug Peacock; research for Hayduke Lives!; some royalty statements; Sierra Club and Earth First! calendars, some with handwritten annotations by Abbey; and miscellaneous materials relating to Abbey from other sources added after the original accession was processed.
291 Miscellaneous, no date
292 Friends of Abbey, ca. 1988
293 Research on Hayduke Lives!, ca. 1988
294 Royalty statements, 1986-1988
295 Calendars, some with notes by Abbey, 1974-1984
296 Materials added after original processing, from other sources.
30 Masters of audio cassette tapes (14). Note : Not for researcher use, please use copies in Box 27.
30 Masters of video tapes (3): NBC Almanac, Wilderness Journal, Edward Abbey's Road. Note : Not for researcher use, please use copies in Box 28.