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Selena Research Collection

A Guide to the Joe Nick Patoski Collection for the Selena Quintanilla Biography
1961 - 1997 (Bulk dates: 1995 - 1996)
Collection 049
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Descriptive Summary

Creator:    Patoski, Joe Nick
Title:    The Joe Nick Patoski Collection for the Selena Quintanilla Biography
Dates:    1961 - 1997 (Bulk dates: 1995 - 1996)
Abstract:    This collection was created and maintained by Joe Nick Patoski in the process of writing the biography of Tejano singer, Selena Quintanilla Perez.  The collection is compiled of news clippings, manuscripts, interviews, photographs, court documents, notes, publicity materials, computer disks and ephemera.
Identification:    Collection 049
Extent:    17 boxes (8 linear feet)
Language:    English, Spanish
Repository:    Southwestern Writers Collection, Special Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos

Biographical Sketch

Joe Nick Patoski was born in 1951 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He moved with his family to West Fort Worth in 1953, at the age of two.  He attended the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Texas at Austin, where he began his writing career in 1972  as a columnist with the Daily Texan, the newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin. That same year he became a consultant in the music business and had soon earned a reputation as one of the most respected critics of pop culture in the Southwest.  Patoski worked as a stringer for Rolling Stone from 1974 to 1980, and as a contributing editor for Texas Monthly from 1975 to 1980.  During the early 1980s, he was the manager and executive producer for several top Texas rock and roll bands, and toured the United States, Europe and South America.  In 1985, Texas Monthly named Patoski an associate editor.  He is currently senior editor for Texas Monthly.  Patoski has written books and articles on various topics covering the entire range of Texas culture.  His work has also appeared in Mother Jones, Village Voice, Waterways, and Condé Nast Traveler, as well as many other publications. 

Scope and Content Note

This collection was created and maintained by Joe Nick Patoski in the process of writing the biography of Tejano singer, Selena Quintanilla Perez.  The collection is compiled of news clippings, manuscripts, interviews, photographs, court documents, notes, publicity materials, computer disks and ephemera.  Dates range from 1961 to 1997 (bulk 1995-1996).

The collection is arranged into eight series: I. Clippings (1971-1997, n.d.), II. Subject Files (1961-1996, n.d.), III. Court Documents (1995), IV. Notes (1995, n.d.), V. Interviews (1992-1995), VI. Manuscripts (1995-1996), VII. Correspondence (1995-1996), and VIII. Publicity (1995-1996).  The materials arrived with little discernible order and have been arranged by the cataloger.  

The author’s year long research and writing processes, which began the day after Selena’s death on March 31, 1995 and continued until January 1996, are reflected in this collection.  Patoski, working under his publisher’s deadline of the first anniversary of Selena’s death (March,1996), delegated a portion of the Selena research to friends and colleagues. Richard and Mary Zelade, among others, conducted interviews and research, adding significantly to the information Patoski was able to gather in this short amount of time.

Series Descriptions

Series I: Clippings (1971-1997, undated)
Boxes 1-3
This series contains coverage of Selena mainly in the form of newspaper and magazine clippings.  However, there are other items such as scholarly papers and rough drafts of Patoski’s magazine articles for Texas Monthly.  This material has been arranged in chronological and subject order by the cataloger.

Lake Jackson (1971-1985, undated) The clippings cover Selena’s beginnings in Lake Jackson.  Under this topic is her birth announcement, news about the Dow Chemical plant where her father worked, and advertisements for the family restaurant. 

Pre-Shooting (1983-1995, undated) This folder includes Selena’s musical and personal accomplishments before her murder. 

Shooting (1995) Found in this folder are items relating to the events immediately following Selena’s murder:  the standoff between Yolanda and Corpus Christi Police, a transcript of the 911 call from the Days Inn Hotel lobby where Selena collapsed after running from Saldivar, and publication of Selena’s autopsy photographs in the tabloid magazine the Globe.

Veneration (1995-1996) This folder involves the public and media expressions of grief, veneration of a pop icon, tributes, and look-alike contests. 

Media Fact Finding Folder (1995) This folder contains the media’s attempt to piece together events that led up to the shooting and possible reasons and motives for why the shooting took place.  The folder also features background information on Yolanda Saldivar, reports on Selena’s net worth before and after her death, and gossip generated by the National Enquirer and the Globe. 

Culture of Death (1995) Compiled in the Culture of Death folder is the media’s attempt to analyze the violent episodes of Selena’s murder and an unrelated office shooting in Corpus Christi. 

Posthumous CD: “Dreaming of You” (1995) This contains information about the songs on the CD, the release dates, and reviews of the CD. 

Cashing in on Selena’s Death (1995-1997) This folder includes clippings covering Abraham Quintanilla’s legal battle to stop unauthorized selling of Selena memorabilia such as T-shirts, pictures, and bootleg tapes of her music. 

Criticisms of Public Grief folder (1995) This folder includes clippings regarding Howard Stern’s insults regarding Tejano music and Selena, and LULAC’s response to Stern and their boycotts of products advertised on his  radio program. Also included are letters to the editors of various newspapers stating that the Selena veneration of Selena is excessive. 

Trial (1995) The trial folder includes media coverage of the State of Texas vs. Yolanda Saldivar in October of 1995, and the public’s reaction to the outcome of the court case. 

Selena: Como la Flor (1996) Within the folder are book reviews (mainly favorable), excerpts of the book in various newspapers, a piece by Don McLeese of the Austin American-Statesman questioning Patoski's right to pen an unauthorized biography of Selena, and Abraham Quintanilla Jr.’s public denouncement of Patoski’s book. 

Selena the Movie (1995-1997) This folder contains reviews of the movie (mostly unfavorable) as well as reviews of the movie’s soundtrack. 

Hispanics in the Media (1991-1995) Topics include: Hispanic celebrations, folklore, discussion in the media about the growing Hispanic population in Texas, the increasing economic power of Hispanics, Catholic religion, coverage of Hispanics portrayed in the media, and information of Hispanic success stories such as entertainers and business people.

Tejano Music (1993-1996, undated) News of Tejano stars, music and awards is included in this folder along with selected coverage of Selena’s awards, appearances, music, and concerts.

Series II: Subject Files (1961-1995, undated)
Boxes 3-5

This series contains research on various people and places (arranged in alphabetical order), in the form of typewritten notes, photographs, scholarly papers, Tejano Press kits, Abraham’s military records, a Selena Boutique catalog and information on Texas radio stations.  Yolanda Saldivar’s folder within this series contains her signed murder confession with the Corpus Christi police.  In addition, there is extensive information collected on Tejano music and Tejano stars. 

Series III: Court Documents (1995)
Box 5

This series consists mainly of photocopies of typed court documents.  Additionally, there are artist renditions of the State of Texas vs. Yolanda Saldivar trial and an identification card for Patoski to attend the hearing.  Other court documents in this series include 1.) Ramiro Burr’s (a writer for San Antonio Express News) lawsuit against Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. and his associates for breach of contract to ghost write a biography of Selena, and 2.) the family settlement of Selena’s estate.

Series IV: Notes (1995, undated)
Boxes 6-7

This series is comprised of notes handwritten by Patoski on legal and spiral bound notebooks, as well as notes written and typed from Richard and Mary Zelade.  The Zelades interviewed people who could offer insight into Selena and her family before she became famous.  The researchers also investigated bank records and places of employment for the Quintanilla family before they moved to Corpus Christi, Texas.

Series V: Interviews (1993-1995, undated)
Boxes 8-12

This series contains various interviews with people related to or who had contact with Selena.  The interviews consist of conversations recorded on audio cassettes, both in person and by telephone.  Some interviews have both audiotapes and transcriptions, while others exist only in one format or the other. Interview subjects include Tejano artists, people in the music business, music critics, family, friends, fans, and acquaintances. Because Patoski’s book was an unauthorized biography, he could not contact any of the Quintanilla family or close friends.  However, interviews with Chris Perez (Selena’s husband), Selena’s father, and her siblings were given to Patoski by the interviewer, John Morthland.  One interview of particular interest features Selena discussing her relationship with Yolanda Saldivar and her own naivete about people’s motives to be her friend.

Series VI: Manuscripts (1995-1996, undated)
Boxes 12-16

This series includes typed rough drafts of Selena: Como la Flor.  The various drafts include editor’s corrections and questions either typed or hand-written on the pages of the manuscripts.  In addition, some of the editor’s comments are written on small notes.  Correspondence between Little, Brown and Company and Patoski concerning his manuscript is also included in this series.  Along with the manuscripts is a paper back book copy of Selena and examples of the book cover.

Series VII: Correspondence (1995-1996, undated)
Box 16

Included within this series is various correspondence related to or peripheral to Patoski’s research.  It is organized in alphabetical order by author.  Of special note are correspondence from Little, Brown & Company to Patoski concerning legal issues related to the publication of the book.  Also of special interest is the correspondence between Patoski and Selena’s father concerning Abraham’s wish for Patoski to ghost write a biography of Selena.

Series VIII: Publicity (1995-1996, undated)
Boxes 16-17

In April of 1996 Little, Brown and Company administered a book signing tour for Selena: Como la Flor.  In addition, Patoski attended lectures and discussions about his book and about biographical work in general.  A special event called Selena Trial Revisited was a stage for Patoski to promote his book.  Found in this folder are faxes to Patoski from his publisher, brochures of the special events he attended, schedules for his appearance, a audio tape of a radio talk show where he was the guest, and fliers. 

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Open for research. Photocopying allowed. JNP holds copyright for Selena materials he wrote and created. Other items will require copyright status determined on a case by case basis.
Preferred Citation: The Joe Nick Patoski Collection for the Selena Quintanilla Biography, Southwestern Writers Collection, Texas State University-San Marcos
Acquisition Information: Donated by Joe Nick Patoski, 1996.
Processing Information: Processed by:  Meredith Summers, 1999. Finding aid revised by Alan Schaefer, 2010.

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