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Aubra Nooncaster

A Guide to the Aubra Nooncaster Collection
1938-1992 [Bulk dates 1980-1990]
Collection 112

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Descriptive Summary

Aubra Nooncaster

The Aubra Nooncaster Collection

1938-1992 [bulk dates 1980-1990]

The Aubra Nooncaster Papers span 1938-1992, and document the writings of coach, poet, and mentor to Larry L. King, Aubra Nooncaster. The collection is arranged into four series: Correspondence, Writings about Coach Nooncaster, Nooncaster’s Writings, and Larry L. King. The bulk of the collection is correspondence from Larry L. King to Nooncaster. The collection also includes published poems and unpublished drafts of poems written by Nooncaster

Collection 122

2 boxes, 1 linear foot


The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University


Biographical Sketch

Aubra Nooncaster graduated Sul Ross State College with a Master’s in English in 1940. Upon returning from service in World War II, he was hired as head basketball and assistant football coach at Midland High School in Texas where he taught for two years. At Midland, Coach Nooncaster was also given an English class to teach that his football players took in anticipation of an easy A. One of these students was Larry L. King, the playwright and author best known for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Nooncaster would become a great influence on Larry L. King’s writing career. As early as 1974, King began a lifelong correspondence with Coach Nooncaster.

In 1947, Aubra Nooncaster began to teach at Pampa Independent School District in Pampa, Texas, where he stayed until his retirement in 1978. During his career as a teacher he pursued an enduring love of poetry, ultimately publishing four books of poems: Listen for a Poem, Selected Poems: 1959-1988, Amid the Glow of Suns, and Interim Days: A Book of Poems.

His community, peers, and former students loved and admired Aubra Nooncaster. Many of his former students reconnected with him after reading Larry L. King’s article about his time with Nooncaster entitled “A Coach I Can’t Forget.”  The article was published in Parade, a newspaper insert that ran nationwide, on July 17, 1983.

Scope and Content Note

The collection of coach and poet, Aubra Nooncaster, spans 1938-1992; however, the bulk of the collection dates from 1980-1990. It is arranged into four series: Correspondence, Writings about Coach Nooncaster, Writings by Nooncaster, and Larry L. King. The correspondence to Nooncaster (excluding Larry L. King’s letters) have been sorted alphabetically. Some letters have the original envelopes with them. Much of the correspondence references Larry L. King’s article in Parade titled, “A Coach I Can’t Forget” about Mr. King’s time in Coach Nooncaster’s class.

Published articles and reviews concerning Coach Nooncaster are in their own series. Nooncaster has published four works: Listen for a Poem, Selected Poems: 1959-1988, Amid the Glow of Suns, and Interim Days: A Book of Poems, and the collection contains many of drafts of his poetry.

The final series contains papers relating to Larry L. King, including correspondence and articles. The letters from King are arranged chronologically from 1974-1992. A few letters from Nooncaster King have been sorted into their own folder. In addition to correspondence, the collection includes articles written by King and writings about King. The writings about King mostly concern The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas as well as his two plays “The Night Hank Williams Died” and “The Kingfisher.” And finally, this series includes two photographs of King, possibly from 1971. One depicts King in front of a dilapidated house, and the second is of King with an unidentified man and children.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Open for research

Preferred Citation: The Aubra Nooncaster Papers, The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University

Acquisition Information: Gift of Frances Nooncaster, 1993

Processing Information: Processed Shannon McPhillips & Lauren Wyatt, 2015

Notes to Researchers: The Wittliff Collection houses the complete Larry L. King Papers.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Correspondence, 1959-1991 [bulk: 1980-1990]

Box     Folder

1          1          Correspondence A-H

Some of the individuals who wrote multiple letters are Evelyn (Wemple) Allen, Bob Allford, Allen Bobroff, Eula Burkes, and Barbara Hodges

1          2          Correspondence I-Z

Includes two photos from Nolan and Billie Jones, and one photo from Mildred Wilson. Some of the individuals who wrote multiple letters are Larry Jarritt, Don Laughlin, Stephen Oates, Helen Payne, and Margaret Howell Tayloe

1          3          Call list


Series II: Writings about Coach Nooncaster, 1959-1988

1          4          Writings about Nooncaster

         Newspaper clippings

         Speech about Nooncaster as teacher

Interview by son John Nooncaster about Great Depression and New Deal, Book review of Interim Days,

Parade July 17, 1983 article, “A Coach I Can’t Forget” by Larry L. King

                                    Article, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas author, Larry
                                                King, visits an old Pampa buddy” by Julia Clark

                                    Article, “Players Reflect on Coaches” by Carlton Stowers

1          5          One Published Caricature of Nooncaster

Series III: Writings by Nooncaster, 1938-1988

Box     Folder

1          6          Poetry

                                    “About a Couple of Birds Making a Nest”


                                    “Cathedral Peak”

                                    “A Dialogue”

                                    “Early Rancher”

                                    “ECC. 1”

                                    “A Glass Darkly” (2 drafts)

                                    “God’s Way”

                                    “The Inchoate”

                                    “In Heaven” (2 copies)

                                    “Laying By”

                                    “Love in Whitman’s Poetry” (term theme)

                                    “Love’s Dimensions”

                                    “Love’s Scope”

                                    “Nassau Bound” (2 copies)

                                    “New Year 1978”





“The Revival of Uncle Buck” (2 drafts)

“Rivers” (Second poem “To Any Librarian”) (2 copies)


                                    “To Any Librarian”

                                    “Ten Days of April” (Sheet music)

                                    “The Trailway Tales”

                                    “Two Men of Ur”

“What Fortune” (Second Poem “New Age” and Third Poem “Same Wine,

            Same Bottle”)

“When I am Dead” (Second Poem “Old Men” and Third Poem


“A Work”

1          7          Untitled Writings

1          8          Articles by Nooncaster

                                    Athletic Journal April 1960:“The Double Wing T versus the 5-4-2”

Athletic Journal May 1960: “The Double Wing T versus the Tight Tackle

            Six” (2 copies)

1          8                      The Crossroads Anthology: Grand Prize poem “June Blow-out”

Scholastic Coach May 1960: “Offensive Trends in Texas H.S. Football”


1          9          Teachings


                                    Definition of Poetry (teaching aid)

                                    Teaching aid with Nooncaster’s notes

1          10        Notes

                                   Script notes

                                    Scratch paper

                                    Football plays

1          11-12   Notebooks: teaching plans and football plays

Series IV: Awards, 1974-1975

1          13        “Narrative” Poem Awards presented by Showcase for Poets. Poet Lore: A

                                    National Quarterly of World Poetry: 1974 First Prize for Nooncaster’s

                                    poem “Bucolics” Check from Poet Lore Division of Literary Publication

                                    Foundation, Inc. to Nooncaster for $25.00

Series V: Larry L. King, 1974- 1992

                        Correspondence, 1974-1992

2          1                      1974-1983: Includes articles that were sent to
                                               Nooncaster, 2 postcards of King about Best Little
                                               Whorehouse of Texas

2          2                      1984-1985: Includes picture of Aubra Nooncaster

2          3                      1986-1987: Includes a book review

2          4                      1988-1989: Includes a program from “The Night Hank
                                               Williams Died,” 

2          5                      1990-1992

2          6                      Letters from Nooncaster to King

2          7          Articles by King (excluding articles about Nooncaster), 1982-1991

                                    Washington Post December 25, 1982: “Reflections of Christmas Past”

                                    Washington Post January 20, 1983: “The True Story of the Redskins”

                                    Washington Post- Magazine February 13, 1983: “Hurtin’ Good”

                                    Parade May 8, 1983: “Am I too Old to be a Father?”

Parade February 19, 1984: “How the Army brought blacks and whites together ‘We’ve Been Ordered to Make This Thing Work?’”

Dallas Times Herald: Collection of Reagan/ GOP articles August 1984

Parade September 9, 1984: “Where Winners Take All”

Parade June 30, 1985: “An author returns to his youth ‘This Is My Home’”

TV Guide December 14, 1985: “Texas Mancho? Texas Beauties? Noble Alamo Martyrs? They’re All Myths, Pardner!”

New York Times April 10, 1988: “Peril of Playwright Getting In on the Act”

Parade November 5, 1989: “What, Me Sixty?!!”

The Dallas Morning News December 22, 1991: “Playwright holds on to  his Texas roots”

Texas Monthly undated: second part of an article on LBJ 

2          8          Writings about King, 1979-1991

Amarillo Sunday News- Globe January 28, 1979: Untitled Larry King article, continuation of the article

The Washington Star November 3, 1980: “A Legend Full of Surprises” by Boris Weintraub

Dallas Times Herald August 26, 1981: “‘Statehouse’ takes a peek at Texas politics” by Dan Hulbert

The Washington Times May 22, 1987: “Doers Profile; Larry L. King” author unknown

Austin American- Statesman November 6, 1987: “Serving heaping  helpings of humor: Popular Texan share thoughts to aid theater” by Kevin Phinney

Austin American- Statesman November 7, 1987: “Names of literary greats become fixtures in Austin” by John Kelso

The Washington Times February 4, 1988: “The best little playwright from  Texas” by Hap Erstein

The Washington Times February 5, 1988: “Larry King proves authors can,  too, act” by Lisa McCormack

                                The Washington Post February 8, 1988: “‘Hank Williams’:
                                       Tex Wrecks” by David Richards

WETA-TV  February 8, 1988: Comments of “The Night Hank Williams Died” that was said on “Critics Roundtable”

The Washington Times February 9, 1988: “More mature King brings Texas humor to Washington stage” by Hap Ernstein

WRC-TV (NBC) February 9, 1988 :Summary of Review of “The Night  Hank Williams Died” 

The Washington Post February 12, 1988: Article about the “The Night Hank Williams Died” unknown author

Washington City Paper February 12-18, 1988: Review for “The Night  Hank Williams Died” by Bob Mondello and Chris Mrozowski

Washington City Paper February 19-25, 1988: Review of “The Night Hank Williams Died” author unknown

Washington Tribune February 22, 1988: Review of “The Night Hank Williams Died” author unknown (note to Coach Nooncaster)

The Washington Times February 23, 1988: “Diapers, day care and dear   older dads” by Leslie Webb

Dallas Morning News February 25, 1988: “In his own words: Playwright  Larry L. King turns actor in ‘The Night Hank Williams Died’” by  Inez Russell (2 copies)

Austin American- Statesman March 21, 1988: “Producers turn backs on Texas playwright” by Robert M. Andrews

USA Today March 21, 1988: “Play’s the thing for other Larry King” author unknown

Texas Books in Review Fall, 1990: “Kings Drama Offers Genial Comedy,  Biting Satire” by Kenneth W. Davis

Bundle of New York articles March 25- April 3 1991, about Larry L.  King’s play “The Kingfish”  

 “Closing of bawdy house makes Texan a playwright” by Jay Sharbutt,  undated

 2          9          Photographs of Larry L. King, undated

            King in front of a dilapidated house

            King with unidentified man and two children