Curtis, Jack (1922-2002)

The Jack Curtis collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, printed materials, personal memorabilia, financial materials, and other materials.

Manuscripts in the collection consist of novels, short stories, screenplays, teleplays, and film and television treatments. Novel manuscripts include Banjo, Above Big Sur, The Trail That Takes Me Home, Point of Impact, Conjure Me, Crows Parliament, Spread Eagle, Glory, Mirrors Kill, Sons of the Morning, The Dead Sit Around in a Ring, and Nothing Like the Night. Also included are television and film treatments for such works as The Dead Sit Round in a Ring and Spread Eagle. The short story collection includes manuscripts for “The Renaissance Man,” “Santa Claus,” “Tall in the Saddle,” “Homesteading,” “Probation,” and “Trapping.” Collected screenplays include It Was Once in the Saddle, This Wild Wild Wild Waltzing World, I Hear America Singing, Bitterwater Blood (River of Blood), Dakota Landing, Fly Away Home, Between Summer and Winter, the Glorious Season, Arise and Shine, Beat the Drum Slowly, Sam Bass, Wagon Train, and Mercy Shot. Teleplays in the collection consist of episodes of Gunsmoke, Dr. Kildare, Midsomer Muders, and more.  Many of these manuscripts are collected in multiple proofs with Curtis’s annotations and revisions. Screenplays collected under the name “Sam Lawrence” include “A Smell of Burning,” “Peacocks,” “Hogwash, Episode One: Next Year in Burnham-on-Crouch,” and “Spine Chillers: In at the Death.”

The collection includes professional and personal correspondence. Included are letters to Curtis’ friends, brother, and wife, as well as letters written during his time in the military. Miscellaneous correspondence regarding many of his novels is included, as well. Also collected are Curtis’ frequent exchanges with agents, bookstores, publishers, editors, and art directors.  Notable correspondents include Henry Volkening, Bob Eisenbach, and Anthony C. West.

Printed materials in the collection consist primarily of book reviews and clippings from various publications, including Publishers Weekly and the New York Times. Fliers, point-of-sale posters, and publicity postcards are also collected, alongside several issues of Gray’s Sporting Journal, Sports Illustrated, the Big Sur Gazette, and others.

The collected financial materials document Curtis’ finances between the years 1969 and 1975. These documents include stock transactions, income and income tax files, information on WGA residuals and dues, and a spiral notebook in which Curtis recorded financial information. Contracts for Blood Cut and The Jury on Smoky Hill are included, as well.

Notebooks and notepads in the collection relate largely to Curtis’ research. Included are two notepads containing notes on assorted books and characters. Additional material consists of research notes for Mirrors Kill, letters and notes from various research sources, and notebooks with heavily annotated outlines for characters and plots.   

Miscellaneous materials include numerous journals of poetry, two photos from Curtis Cimarron Strip scripts, and a confidential notebook containing Curtis' naval communication.
Notable Figures
1. Curtis, Jack, 1922-
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. Dramatists, American
3. Short stories
4. American poetry -- 20th century.
5. Authors, American
6. Western stories
7. Poets, American
8. American literature--20th century
9. Drama