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Sam Shepard

Photograph of Sam Shepard by Bill Wittliiff


A Guide to the Sam Shepard Papers

Collection 054

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Shepard, Sam

Title: Sam Shepard Papers

Dates: 1980-1999

Abstract: The Sam Shepard Papers document the middle years of Sam

Shepard’s literary and acting career, from 1980-1999. The collection is comprised of the following series: Plays,  Novels, Short Stories, Films, Literary Criticism, Notebooks, Correspondence, Clippings, Awards, Interviews, Readings, Published Compilations, Works by Others, and Framed Posters.

Identification: Collection 054

Extent: 27 boxes (13 linear feet)

Language: English

Repository: The Wittliff Collections, Texas State University


Biographical Sketch 

Widely considered one of America’s greatest living playwrights, Sam Shepard was also an accomplished actor, director, screenwriter, and musician.  Born Samuel Shepard Rogers IV on November 5, 1943 in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, Shepard was the oldest of three children.  His family traveled extensively before settling in Duarte, California, outside of Pasadena, where his childhood experiences informed themes that mark much of his later playwriting.  Shepard described Duarte as a “weird accumulation of things, a strange kind of melting pot – Spanish, Okie, Black, Midwestern elements all jumbled together.  People on the move who couldn’t move anymore, who wound up in trailer parks.” (Rolling Stone, 1986).  Shepard told biographer Don Shewey that his alcoholic father “had a real short fuse,” and that he was often the target of his father’s anger.  In high school he began acting and writing poetry.  He also worked as a stable hand at a horse ranch in Chino, California from 1958-1960.  Thinking of becoming a veterinarian, Shepard studied agriculture at Mount Antonio Junior College for a year; but when a traveling theater group, The Bishop’s Company Repertory Players, came through town, Shepard joined them and left home.  After touring with them from 1962-1963, he moved to New York City and worked as a bus boy at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village. 

In New York, Shepard spent much of his time reading the works of playwrights and writing short “rock and roll” plays which frequently focused “on a single event, the characters often talking past one another or breaking into long monologues.  However puzzling the action, these plays already ring out with Shepard’s deft rhythms,” (Contemporary Dramatists 1999).  Shepard disavowed the narrative convention that required consistent character motivations, preferring instead to see his characters as capable of a wide variety of roles and actions.  Shepard once told an interviewer that, “I preferred a character that was constantly unidentifiable, shifting through the actor, so that the actor could play almost anything, and the audience was never expected to identify with the characters,” (Shewey, Sam Shepard, 1997, p. 51).  Shepard reconsidered this initial approach to his writing as a result of the influence of New York director and acting teacher Joseph Chaikin.  As Shepard said, Chaikin helped him understand that there’s, “…no room for self indulgence in theater; you have to be thinking about the audience.” (Kevin Berger,, January 2, 2001)  Chaikin also convinced Shepard to begin re-writing his plays in order to discover the essence of the experience.  Prior to that, Shepard said, his “tendency was to jam, like it was jazz or something.” (Berger,, January 2, 2001)

Shepard’s playwriting debut took place at Theater Genesis on October 16, 1964, with a double bill of Cowboys and Rock Garden.  In 1966, he received a grant from the University of Minnesota, the first of several he would receive in the coming years.  Also in 1966, he won an unprecedented trio of Obie awards for Chicago, Icarus’ Mother, and Red Cross.  The awards, presented by off-off Broadway champion The Village Voice, helped Shepard’s career gain momentum at a time when critics remained wary of his works.   

In 1967, Shepard wrote La Turista, his first full-length play, which won an Obie the same year.  More Obies for his early works followed, including Melodrama Play and Cowboys #2 in 1968.  Shepard also received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1967 and the Guggenheim Foundation in 1968.  Also in 1968, Shepard joined a rock band, the Holy Modal Rounders, playing drums and guitar.  Although he played with the band for three years, he continued to write and received a second Guggenheim Foundation grant in 1971. 

Shepard married O-Lan Jones Dark, an actress, on November 9, 1969, with whom he had one son, Jesse Mojo Shepard.  Shepard and Dark divorced in 1984.  In 1971, Shepard had a much-publicized relationship with rock singer Patti Smith.  Together they wrote Cowboy Mouth, acting the parts on stage in the first night’s performance. 

In 1971, Shepard and family traveled to England, where four more plays premiered (The Tooth of Crime, Blue Bitch, Geography of a Horse Dreamer, and Little Ocean).  Tooth of Crime was later presented in the U.S., winning an Obie in 1973.  The next year, Shepard returned to the United States and served as the playwright in residence for The Magic Theater in San Francisco, a post he held for the next ten years.  It was during this time that Shepard made his mark on mainstream American drama, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child and producing his best-known plays, among them, True West in 1980.  

In 1975, he took part in Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Review,” a nationwide touring group that included Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs.  Shepard eventually published an account of the experience in 1987, titled Rolling Thunder Logbook.  In 1978, Shepard began his film career, appearing in Bob Dylan’s Renaldo and Clara and later that year in Days of Heaven, directed by Terence Mallick.  Also in 1978, Shepard began his collaboration with Joseph Chaikin, with the theater piece, Tongues.   Chaikin and Shepard would also collaborate on Savage/Love (1979), and The War in Heaven, which was presented on WBAI radio in 1985. 

In the 1980s, his works continued to win awards.  He won his eleventh Obie for Fool for Love (1984.)  A Lie of the Mind won the New York Drama Critics Award in 1986.  Also during the 1980s, Shepard’s screenwriting and acting career began to grow.  Screenplays included Me and My Brother, Zabriskie Point, and Fool for Love.  His most popular and critically acclaimed film, Paris, Texas, won a Golden Palm Awards at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984.  This screenplay was commissioned by German director Wim Wenders, and was based loosely on Shepard’s Motel Chronicles.  His acting roles included Resurrection (1980), Raggedy Man (1981), Frances (1982), The Right Stuff (1983), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, Country (1984), Fool for Love (1985), Crimes of the Heart (1986), and Steel Magnolias (1989).  He wrote and directed Far North (1988), which starred Jessica Lange. 

Shepard continued to write new plays in the 1990s, though his output has slowed from the dizzying pace of the 1960s-1970s.  States of Shock premiered in 1991, and in 1992 a revised version of True West was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Drama.  Simpatico opened in 1994, and his revision of Buried Child opened on Broadway in 1996 and received a Tony Award nomination.  Another collaboration with Joseph Chaikin, When the World Was Green (A Chef’s Fable) also premiered in 1996.  Shepard’s collection of stories, Cruising Paradise, was published by Knopf in 1996.  Curse of the Starving Class opened in 1997 and Eyes for Consuela (based on an Octavio Paz short story) was produced in 1998.  In 2001, Shepard returned to San Francisco’s The Magic Theater for the premier of his new play The Late Henry Moss.

Shepard’s acting career also flourished through the 1990s and 2000s, with appearances in Defenseless (1991), Thunderheart (1992), The Pelican Brief (1993), and The Good Old Boys (1995), among others.  Shepard wrote and directed the feature film Silent Tongue (1992). Some of his additional film appearances include All the Pretty Horses (2000), based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy, Blackhawk Down (2001), Swordfish (2001), The Notebook (2004), Stealth (2005), Walker (2005), and Bandidas (2006).

Shepard was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letter in 1986.  In 1992, he received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy and in 1994 he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.  From 1983 to 2010, Shepard was in a committed relationship with actress Jessica Lange, with whom had two children, Hannah Jane Shepard and Samuel Walker Shepard.

Shepard passed away on July 27, 2017. His impact on modern theater can be gauged by the numerous scholarly books and articles devoted to his work, as well as the hundreds of productions of his plays, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Further readings:

American Dreams : The Imagination of Sam Shepard. Edited by Bonnie Marranca. New York : Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1981.

Auerbach, Doris. Sam Shepard, Arthur Kopit, and the Off Broadway Theater. Boston : Twayne, 1982.

Mottram, Ron. Inner Landscapes : The Theater of Sam Shepard. Columbia : Univ. of Missouri Press, 1984.

Shewey, Don. Sam Shepard. New York : Dell, 1985.

Patraka, Vivian M., and Siegel, Mark. Sam Shepard. Boise, Idaho : Boise State University, 1985.

Oumano, Ellen. Sam Shepard : The Life and Work of an American  Dreamer. New York : St. Martin’s Press, 1986; London : Virgin, 1987.

Hart, Lynda. Sam Shepard’s Metaphorical Stages. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1987.

King, Kimball. Sam Shepard : A Casebook. New York : Garland, 1988.

Trussler, Simon, ed. File on Shepard. London : Methuen, 1989.

DeRose, David J. Sam Shepard. New York : Twayne, 1992.

Benet, Carol. Sam Shepard on the German Stage : Critics, Politics, Myths. New York : Peter Lang, 1993.

Wilcox, Leonard, ed. Rereading Shepard : Contemporary Critical Essays on the Plays of Sam Shepard. Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1993.

Wade, Leslie A. Sam Shepard and the American Theater. Westport, Conn. :Greenwood Press, 1997.

Bottoms, Stephen J. The Theater of Sam Shepard : States of Crisis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Some materials restricted. Please contact the SWWC for information about access.

Preferred Citation

Sam Shepard Papers, Southwestern Writers Collection, Texas State University-San Marcos

Acquisition Information

Donated by Sam Shepard, 1992-2000

Processing Information

Processed by Amanda York, 2000
Inventory revised by Amy Ruthrauth, 2005 and Katie Salzmann, 2019.

Notes to Researchers 

The Southwestern Writers Collection also holds the Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark Collection (SWWC Collection 106)

The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin additional Sam Shepard Papers.

 Boston University houses a collection of Sam Shepard Papers.

Scope and Contents Note

The Sam Shepard Papers is comprised of the following series:


             Unpublished Novels

III.           Short Stories

IV.           Films

V.             Literary Criticism

VI.           Notebooks

VII.         Correspondence

VIII.       Clippings

IX.           Awards

X.             Interviews

XI.           Readings

XII.         Published Compilations

XIII.       Works by Others 

XIV.       Framed Posters


Series I: Plays, 1982-1999

Boxes 1-9

The series for Plays is the largest of Shepard’s works and includes notes, annotated typescripts, playbills, programs, correspondence, sound recordings, rehearsal schedules, reviews, and publicity. This series is notable in that Shepard meticulously identified each annotated draft with the date and place (by city and state) of each revision, and there tend to be multiple drafts of each work represented.


Series II: Unpublished Novels 1991, undated

Boxes 9-10

Two annotated typescripts of Stray Hand (working title Slow Dawning of a Sudden Loss), 1991.


Series III: Short Stories, 1989-1998

Boxes 10-14

Many of the short stories represented in this series were published in short story compilations Motel Chronicles (1982) and Cruising Paradise (1996). The series has been arranged by those compilation titles. Volador was a working title for Cruising Paradise; those files immediately precede the files labeled Cruising Paradise.  The files for Volador / Cruising Paradise include multiple drafts of stories, correspondence, while files for Motel Chronicles include annotated typescripts and production information, but no multiple drafts.


Series IV: Films, 1982-1998

Boxes 14-18


This series is divided into two subseries. The first, films for which Shepard wrote the screenplay,  includes: notes, annotated drafts, dialogue rewrites, publicity, correspondence, contracts, music notes, production notes and schedules.  Of the films in this subseries, Silent Tongue includes the most information (1 linear foot), followed by Far North, (.25 linear feet.), Onibaba (.25 linear feet), Paris, TX ( 4 folders), and Plain Fate, an unfinished work (1 folder).


The second subseries of films is for those which Shepard did not write the screenplay but in which he appears as an actor, Bright Angel (1989-90) and Voyager ((1990-91) both include screenplay typescripts with Shepard’s annotations. Thunderheart (1991) includes storyboards and color photographs, Dash and Lily (1998) includes an advertisement.



Series V. Literary Criticism, 1984

Box 18

This series is comprised of a review by Shepard of Peter Handke’s novel The Weight of the World, including a letter from Handke’s editor, Shepard’s draft, and a copy of the essay as published in Vanity Fair, Sept. 1984.


Series VI. Notebooks, 1981-1995

Boxes 19-20

The Notebooks series includes handwritten notes, dialogue ideas, small drawings, and journal entries, usually in spiral bound notebooks. Some entries are personal and many were or were intended to be developed into longer works.


Series VII. Correspondence, 1982-1998

Boxes 20-21

Topics include the publication of Shepard’s works in magazines and Journals  as excerpts, as well as in their entirety; correspondence with agent Lois Berman. Aside from general correspondence, this series also includes correspondence from Joseph Chaikin and Barry Daniels and correspondence from Shepard’s son, Jesse, as noted [Restricted].  For Shepard’s 40-year correspondence with Johnny Dark, see the Southwestern Writers Collection 106, The Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark Collection.


A. Chaikin, Joseph, 1984-1987 The majority of these letters from Joseph Chaikin to Shepard relate to plays the two collaborated on. Because they date from after Chaikin’s strokes, many of the letters include fragments of sentences and ideas.


B. Daniels, Barry, 1984-1989 This subseries includes correspondence regarding the volume Daniels edited entitled Joseph Chaikin & Sam Shepard : Letters and Texts, 1972-1984. Also included is an advance proof, articles on Shepard and Chaikin, and a photograph of Chaikin by Ray Maichen.


Series VIII. Clippings, 1983-1998

Box 22

This series includes news clippings regarding Shepard and his work. A file of undated clippings also includes photocopied fragments of others’ work, annotated by Shepard.


Series IX. Awards, 1988-1998

Box 22

This series includes award certificates, correspondence, presentation programs, and clippings for awards Shepard received from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, among other institutions.


Series X. Interviews, 1980-1997

Box 22

This series is comprised of a conversation between Bob Dylan and Shepard, ca. mid 1980s to early 1990s. No transcript currently exists for these 3 audiocassettes, but the tapes have been transferred to CD as listening copies. Also included are the typescript and galleys for an interview of Shepard by Paris Review, regarding Shepard’s writing process, 1997, and an interview with Shepard on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air”, August 1996.


Series XI. Readings, 1991-94

Box 22

This series is comprised of Shepard’s notes, correspondence and annotated photocopies of excerpts of his work read at various events. Arranged in chronological order by the event’s date.


Series XII. Published compilations, 1984-1993

Box 23

Cover art proposals and galleys for compilations of Shepard’s work published by Vintage and Bantam comprise this series.


Series XIII. Works by Others, 1984-1998

Boxes 23-25

Arranged by genre (articles, books, sound recordings, screenplays, short stories and teleplays), most of the works in this series are based on or inspired by Shepard’s works.  Authors mailed the works to Shepard for his comments, and many items include typescripts annotated by Shepard and correspondence.


Series XIV. Framed Posters

Includes 4 posters that were removed from the collection and framed for exhibit. Additional unframed posters can be found listed within the collection. 


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Plays, 1982-1999, undated


Box     Folder

                        Tooth of Crime (1972)


1          1                      Annotated typescript re-write, 1996

1          2                      Folder with March 1996 and October 1996 re-writes, December 1996

schedules, contact sheets, reviews, for New York Production. Includes photograph of Mohammed Ali.

1          3                      Correspondence regarding Tooth of Crime, including: correspondence

from Signature Theater, 2 audiocassettes of T. Bone Burnett music, and contract for Burnett’s  musical score.

1          4                      Review, New York Times, 1996


                        Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife (1976)


1          5                      Manuscript musical score by Loren Toolajian, 1997 [housed in box 26]

1          6                      Audiocassette recording of Pecos Bill, undated

1          7                      Reviews, 1997

1          8                      Advertisement


                        Curse of the Starving Class (1977)


1          9                          Press kit, including: credits, potential cast, synopsis, biographies, and

letters of support.

1          10                         Reviews, 1991


                        Buried Child (1977)


1          11                    Published script with Steppenwolf/Chicago re-write annotations

1          12                    Final Steppenwolf re-write, annotated typescript, 1996


2          1                      Re-write, annotated typescript, 1996

2          2                      Production calendar and correspondence, Brooks Atkinson Theater New

York, 1996

2          3                      Playbills (2), Brooks Atkinson Theater, New York, April-May, 1996

2          4                      Correspondence, includes: telegram from Bob Dylan, correspondence with

agent Judy Boals, and American Theater magazine regarding publication of Buried Child, 1995-1996

2          5-6                   Reviews, 1995-1996

2          7                      Steppenwolf Chicago Poster, 1996


                        True West (1980)


3          1                      Correspondence regarding film rights, 1983-1985

3          2                      Repertory Theater of St. Louis program, 1983-1984

3          3                      Program for Dutch production, February 1984

3          4                      Playbill from Le Theatre National de Belgique signed by Shepard, 1985

3          5                      Program for Ojai, California production, 1998

3          6                      Posters for French (2) and Turkish (1) productions - FRAMED


True West, continued


3          7                      Scripts for New York City radio spots (2), 1983

3          8                      Reviews, 1983-1984; London: 1994


                        Fool For Love (1983)


3          9                      Bound annotated typescript with cover featuring Elvis kissing a blonde

woman. Signed by Shepard, October, 1982

3          10                    Stage Notes for Magic Theater, handwritten orange notebook, 1983

3          11                    Correspondence, 1983-1985

3          12                    United States reviews, 1983-1996

3          13                    Japanese production documents, including: Circle Repertory Company tour

program, Tsurumi Shoten publication of script, and Bi-lingual

program for KSK Hall production.

3          14                    Brazilian reviews, 1988

3          15                    Australian reviews and publicity, 1984

3          16                    French program, 1984

3          17                    Czech publicity materials

3          18                    British (London) reviews, 1996


                        A Lie of the Mind (1985)


4          1                      Correspondence, 1985-1992

4          2                      Programs

4          3                      CD and audiocassette musical recording by Red Clay Ramblers

4          4                      Audiocassette musical recording by Token Oldies

4          5                      Reviews, 1985-1993

4          6                      Latvian translation by Karina Petrsone, hardbound, 1990


                        The War in Heaven (1985)


4          7                      Annotated work play, February 1984

4          8                      Audiocassette tapes of rehearsals (2), 1984, n.d.  

4          9                      American Place Theater annotated re-write, February 13, 1991

4          10                    American Place Theater re-write with music percussion notes, February 13,


4          11                    American Place Theater annotated re-write, February 1991

4          12                    American Place Theater re-write, heavily annotated cover page, February

13, 1991

4          13                    Programs, 1991

4          14                    News clippings, 1991


5          1                      Correspondence with Joseph Chaikin regarding The War in Heaven, 1995

5          2                      Photocopy of the poem, “What Is the Word,” by Samuel Beckett, last

Beckett poem to Chaikin



Sacred Ground (1989)


5          3                      Partial manuscript, 100 handwritten pages in blue spiral notebook includes

                                                set drawings, 1989


            Sangre de Cristo (unfinished) (1989)

5          4                      Original manuscript bound in spiral notebook, August 25, 1989

5          5                      Annotated unfinished typescript, November 1989


                        States of Shock (1991)


5          6                      Partial manuscript and annotated typescript titled States of Panic, crossed

out titles include Lost Partners, A Fear of Unknown Origin, and The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Weeping, November 12, 1988

5          7                      Notes and dialog, January 1989

5          8                      Manuscript and typescript pages for early draft titled  Chattanooga, Fanatics,

and Chattanooga Breakdown (January-May 1989)


5          9                      Annotated typescript subtitled Friendly Fire (2) (January 1991)


5          10                    Second draft, annotated typescript, March 1991

5          11                    Stage set drawings and letter from Bill Stabilie, undated


6          1                      Folder containing final draft (March 1991) and re-writes, April 4, 1991 and

May 5, 1991.  Heavily annotated typescript with music and sound cues, and rehearsal schedule for American Place Theater production

6          2                      Final script of American Place Theater production, 1991

6          3                      Final draft, undated

6          4                      Sample pages of proposed publication

6          5                      Dramatists Play Service publication, 1992

6          6                      Playbill from American Place Theater production, April 1994

6          7                      Reviews, 1991

6          8                      Correspondence from 7 Stages director Faye Allen and from lighting

designer Ann Millitello regarding the death of a friend named John Dodd, 1991, 1998


                        Simpatico (1993)


6          9                      First draft, annotated typescript subtitled Life in the Wake, September 20,

1992 - July 13, 1993

6          10                    Re-writes, September 1992, July 1993, and June 1994

6          11                    Typescript draft with minimal annotations, July 1993

6          12                    Final draft/working rehearsal script with minimal annotations for Public

Theater, September 1992-August 1994


7          1                      Annotated typescript, undated

7          2                      Working script for Joseph Papp Public Theater production, November 1994

7          3                      Final corrected version, November 1994

7          4                      Notebook with rehearsal notes, rehearsal schedule, correspondence, Fall 1994

7          5                      Final Version, April 1998

7          6                      Playbill and publicity from Queensland Theater production, April 1996

7          7                      Trade book cover art sample


8          1                      Reviews, 1993-1995

8          2                      Reviews, 1996-1998

8          3                      Correspondence, 1993


                        Seduced (1995)


8          4                      Play program from New York production: Kraine Theater, and correspondence


                        The Unseen Hand and Other Plays (1996)


8          5                      Page proofs with annotations and typesetting marks.


                        When the World Was Green (1996)


8          6                      Annotated typescript, December 1994

8          7                      Annotated typescript, September 1994-August 1995

8          8                      Typescript, undated

8          9                      Folder for Chicago production includes: correspondence, contact sheets,

rehearsal schedules, and heavily annotated working scripts

8          10                    Reviews and play program for Atlanta production, 1996

8          11                    Reviews and play program for San Francisco production, 1997

8          12                    Reviews and play program for Boston production, 1997

8          13                    Correspondence from Judy Boals. 1996


9          1                      Correspondence with Joseph Chaikin, 1994-1995

9          2                      Press release for Gradiva Best Play Award, 1997


                        Eyes for Consuela (1998)


9          3                      First draft, annotated typescript, October 31,1996

9          4                      Working draft, annotated typescript, September, 1997

9          5                      Folder for Austin production: working script, rehearsal schedules, 1998

9          6                      Playbill for Manhattan Theater Club production, January, 1998

9          7                      Reviews, 1998


Unfinished Unidentified Play (1990)


9          8                     Heavily annotated typescript, dates and places include: November 1990,

Virginia, December 1990, Florida, and December 1990, Virginia.  Character names include: Reeves, Raynelle, Parnell, Clayton, and Joelie.  78 pages total, undated


Unfinished Play Fragment, undated


9               9                      Annotated typescript, characters include Clayton, Mitch, and Kaylee, undated


Series II: Unpublished Novels, 1991, undated



Stray Hand / Slow Dawning of a Sudden Loss, 1991-1993


9          10                    Annotated typescript, 256 pages with 13 additional pages of re-writes at end

titled “Stray Hand,” undated


10        1-2                   Annotated typescript (2 copies) titled “Slow Dawning of a Sudden

Loss,” 1991-1993.


Series III: Short Stories, 1989-1998, undated


Motel Chronicles (1982)


10        3                      Signed bound annotated typescript, 1992

10        4                      Program for Paris production, undated


                        Volador/Cruising Paradise (1989-1998)


10        5                      Spiral bound handwritten draft of Volador includes note, story drafts,

clippings, and photographs.  Subjects and titles   include: Train Film outline, Chain Chain Chain, Wayne Grace, Madagascar,  Phone Call, “Apart,” Chappy, Rich Hole, Papantle, Spencer Tracy  Had the Right Idea, Nightmare, How I Came by Train, Blythe,  Paris, Train to Munich, and Athens, 1989-1991

10        6                      Drafts of stories and letter from LuAnn Walther at Random House Publishers

inviting Shepard to submit a collection of short stories for publication.


11        1                      Draft of stories titled Volador and letter to LuAnn Walther at Random House

Publishers, June 13, 1989


11        2                      Draft of stories titled Volador and letter to LuAnn Walther at Random House

Publishers.  Story titles include: “The Real Gabby  Hayes,  Nuevo Mundo, Cruising Paradise, Wild to the Wild, A Small Circle of Friends, Thin Skin, Lily and the Judge, More Urgent Emergencies, The Devouring Lion,  Falling Without  End, Homage to Celine, Gary Cooper on the Landscape, The Self-Made Man, Hail from Nowhere, Synthetic Pink, Temporary Entrance, Papantla, See You In My Dreams (1 original, 1 photocopy), undated [1989]

11        3                      Draft titled with photocopied photographs.  Also titled “Slave of the Camera

(an actor’s notes), “July, 1990

11        4                      Volador reading typescript, October 6, 1995


12        1-4                   Annotated typescript (in 4 folders)


13        1                      Page proofs, 1995

13        2                      Typescript with typesetting marks, undated

13        3                      Uncorrected proof of Knopf publication, 1996

13        4                      Dust jackets for Knopf publication, undated

13        5                      Cover art proposals, undated

13        6                      Unbound Knopf signatures, undated

13        7                      Knopf catalog featuring Cruising Paradise, Spring 1996


14        1                      Audio book cover art proposals, undated

14        2                      Publicity, 1996

14        3                      Reviews, 1996

14        4                      Correspondence regarding reviews,  rights to publish excerpts, and foreign

editions, 1996-1998


14        5                      Cover art proposals for foreign publications: Minerva, U.K. and La Font,

France, 1997


                        The Fire in Jeremy’s Lap, undated


14        6                      Annotated and signed typescript, 2 pages. Undated


Series IV: Films, 1984-1991


Subseries A: Films written by Shepard, 1982-1992


Paris, TX (1984)


14        7                      Notes: dialog re-writes, editing notes, 10 p. March 22, 1984

14        8                      Correspondence from Peter Kaminsky and Wim Wenders, 1982-1983

14        9                      Advertising sample (5.5 x 8.5 color card)

14        10                    Reviews, 1984


                        Far North (1988)


14        11                    Notes regarding make-up, hospital scene, and synopsis, undated

14        12                    Notes on second draft regarding budget, music and sound, 10 p. February,


14        13                    Notes on cutting/editing, 8 page. January, 1988

14        14                    Vehicle card, undated

14        15                    Advertisements, undated

14        16                    Reviews, 1988-1989

14        17                    Black and white publicity photograph of Sam Shepard on set

14        18                    Correspondence,  includes: program for Minnesota film premiere  and

program and materials from 1988 Telluride Film Festival, 1988-1989

14        19                    Audiocassette of New York City-New Orleans music sessions, undated

14        20                    VHS Videocassette of film transfer with visual time code, second cut. January

28, 1988


15        1                      VHS Videocassette of film transfer with visual time code, transfer number

four, March 4, 1988


                        Plain Fate (unfinished, February, 1988)


15        2                      Signed annotated typescript, February 1988


                        Onibaba (1991)


15        3                      Handwritten notes and partial draft in blue spiral notebook, 18 p. May 1992

                                                Notebook also contains notes, sketches, and dialogue for play, “States

of Shock, 1991; screenplay, “The Homesman,” May 1991; and play original deception,” May 1991


15        4                      First draft outline, annotated typescript, July 11, 1992

15        5                      Clippings regarding 1965 Japanese film Onibaba directed by Kaneto Shindo.

15        6                      Contract with Toho International for film rights purchased by Shepard,

September 21, 1992


                        Silent Tongue (1992)


15        7                      First draft May 1988, Virginia and August 1988 Natchidoches, La.

15        8                      Contact sheet for Red Clay Ramblers, March 19,1988

15        9                      Location notes, memos, and map, October 24,1988

15        10                    Third revision, slightly annotated in blue, black and red ink, January, 1992

15        11                    Third revision typescript annotated in red ink


16        1                      Third revision typescript lightly annotated in black ink and blue highlighter

January, 1992

16        2                      Third revision lightly annotated in red and black ink and minimal blue

highlighter, January, 1992

16        3                      Notebook with headings of outline, personnel, and notes, 1988

16        4                      Shooting script, March 5,1992

16        5                      Editing, continuity, location, and extras notes, undated

16        6                     Music notes, 1992

16        7                      Audiocassette of medicine show music, undated


17        1                      Two audiocassettes of Dino’s music, undated

17        2                      Possible prologue photos (photocopies from published sources), undated

17        3                      Notes on cuts, August, 1993

17        4                      Notes on final trims of opening from editor Bill Yahraus, undated

17        5                      Vehicle card, “Now Filming”

17        6                      Folder containing: crew resumes, production telephone messages, information

about stuntmen, casting suggestions for “Reeves,” production schedule, and storyboard drawings by Michael Peal, undated

17        7                      Photographs from set: 8x10 black and white of Alan Bates, Dermot

Mulroney, and a female in front of stage wagon and 3x5 of burial tree

17        8                      Synopsis for press kit draft, undated

17        9                      Clippings and reviews, 1992-1994

17        10                    Film guide from Sundance Film Festival featuring Silent Tongue, 1993

17        11                    Poster

17        12                    Correspondence including: ICM correspondence regarding contract for film,

1991; Grey Larsen regarding music for film, 1988, and article written

for Esquire magazine about film, undated


A Rage of Unknown Origin, undated


18        1                           Notes, two typescript pages, undated


Subseries B. Films in which Shepard performed, 1989-1998


                        Bright Angel, screenplay by Richard Ford (1989-1990)


18        2                      Screenplay typescript by Richard Ford, second draft with Shepard’s

annotations, August, 1989

18        3                      Screenplay typescript by Ford, latest draft, with Shepard’s annotations,

August, 1989

18        4                      Color transparency advertising film, 1990


                        Voyager  (1991)


18        5                      Annotated photocopy of book titled Homo Faber by Max Frisch, 1989

18        6                      Annotated article on Max Frisch, undated

18        7                      Screenplay typescript third draft with Shepard’s annotations, February 1990 –

March 1990

18        8                      Film contract, January 1990

18        9                      Location stills by Volker, color photographs in blue notebook, undated

18        10                    Production schedules, maps, 1990

18        11-12               Photographs on set of Shepard and Delpy by Bridgette LaCombe, includes 16

black and white faxes and 19 color copies, 1990

18        13                    Production notes by Castle Hill Productions including cast,

                                                credits and synopsis, undated

18        14                    Booklet containing synopsis, photographs, artistic and technical participants in

film (in French), undated

18        15                    Reviews, undated

18        16                    Correspondence with Volker, 1989-1990


Thunderheart (1991)


18        17                    Storyboards for scenes 38, 40, 70, 119-122, and 131-133 (photocopies)

18        18                    Two color photographs, taped together, unidentified, but presumed to be taken

on the set of Thunderheart, undated


                        Dash and Lilly (1998)


18        19                    Advertisement  in Variety magazine, undated



Series V: Literary Criticism, 1984


18        20        Review by Shepard of Peter Handke’s novel The Weight of the World, including letter

from Handke’s editor, Shepard’s draft and a copy of the essay published in Vanity Fair, September 1984



Series VI: Notebooks, 1981- 1996, undated


19        1          Various subjects including:


Synthetic Tears screenplay outline,


New Mexico

Fool for Love notes, 1981-1982


19        2          Blue spiral containing notes on various subjects including:


“Dream in Borad Day,” prose fragment, July, 23, 1982

“script fragment beginning,” Int. Lee and Old Man,” August,8, 1982

“P.O.V’s prose, fragment,” undated

“After all I’d been through with this guy,” prose fragment, October 11, 1982           “The Flood has occurred and he could not be bothered to save himself from

drowning…”prose fragment, undated

“Second Chance” undated


19        3          Various subjects on loose sheets including:


“Machine Dreams:

“Film Synopsis,” December 25, 1984

“Denial,” film sketch, February 1984

“History of the Dog,” undated.

Film sketch beginning, “A Man has a dream about a murder…” undated

“Jealousy is not a pretty thing,” October 23, 1988

“States” notes, February, 1989

“1957” film notes, January 1, 1987

“The Man Who Could Not Stop Crying,” October 3, 1988


19        4          Various subjects bound in black leather book with red marbled endpapers, including:


                                         “Thin Skin – What Any Woman Can Do  To You,” 1989

                                         “J.D.’s Collapse,” December 1998

                                         “Southwest Chief – L.A. to Chicago,” February 1989

                                         “More Urgent Emergencies,” April, 1989

                                         “Wild to the Wild,” May, 1989

                                         “Ancient Fear of the Fiddle,” May, 1989

                                         “Open Suitcase,” January, 1990


19        5          Various subjects including:


                                         quotes dated August, 1992

                                         “Separation: Horrors of the Road,” September 1992

                                         “Simms – Tall Stories Solid 7,” September, 1993

                                         “One Last Favor,” playscript September, 1992

                                         “No Better Place than the Present,” undated


19        6          Various subjects in black spiral bound notebook including:


                                    “Brecht Clown Play - Joe - World Was Green - At the Edge of the World,”

November 1993

“Confession - Obsession - Blessing or Curse,” “Oedipus,” October 1995

“Great Place,” November 1995

“Sins of the Distant Past,” “Marfa Lights,” February 1996; November 1993-

January 1996, (black cover)


20        1          Various subjects include:


“Turkey Sag,” January, 1994

“Gary Cooper of the Landscape,” January, 1994

“A Weakness for Horses,” January, 1994

Actors, Simpatico, “An Actors Doubt,” January, 1994

poem “My mother loved the sea…”  March, 1994

“Dreaming of a way to Enter the Unbearable Present,” April, 1994

“Self Made Man (Divine Providence,” undated

“Questions for Junior Brown,” March, 1995

“Once,” May, 1995

“Dignity,” May, 1995

“A Man’s Man,” May, 1995

“Reading-Oct. 6 - “Y”,” April 24, 1994

“Volador; Mundo Nuevo,” July, 1994

“Place,” May, 1995


20        2          Various subjects on three loose pages:


Angel, White Horse on Hudson, God, Tuna undated


Series VII: Correspondence, 1982-1998, undated


Box     Folder




20        3          Lawson, Wayne, November 10, 1982




20        4          Phillips, Jerrold, March 2, 1983

                        Berman, Lois, August 18, 1983

                        Cuyama Valley Exchange Club. August 29, 1983

                        Mitchell, Joni, circa 1983




20        5          Rogers, S [Sandy], April13, 1984

Gantcher, Neal(to Martin Licker), June 6, 1984

                        Kirwin, Lynne (to Lois Berman), June 27, 1984

                        Allen, Lewis (to Lois Berman), June 29, 1984

                        Shewey, Don (to Lois Berman), July 12, 1984

                        Shewey, Don, July 12, 1984

                        Berman, Lois, July 17, 1984

                        Allen, Lewis, July 17, 1984

                        McCrum, Robert (to Lois Berman), August 23, 1984

                         * restricted Shepard, Jesse, October 9, 1984

                        Lynn and Jack (first names only), November 26, 1984




20        6          * restricted Shepard, Jesse, February 20, 1985

                        Ward, Melinda, February 28, 1985

                        Weiler, Robert S., June 28, 1985

                        Allen,  Lewis, July 3, 1985

                        Sato, Suzanne, July 8, 1985




20        7          * restricted Shepard, Jesse, February 2, 1986

                        Gotlieb, Howard, April 4, 1986. Includes Boston University’s Shepard collection





20        8          Klein, Don, April 25, 1988

                        Mark, Steven (to Martin Licker), June 7, 1988

                        Wenders, Wim, July 22, 1988

                        Crane, Joan, July 28, 1988

                        Crane, Joan, August 2, 1988

                        Wexler, Haskell, September 30, 1988

                        Wexler, Haskell, October 21, 1988

                        “Mom,” November 2, 1988


Bryer, Jackson, November


30, 1988

                        Daugherty, Pat, December 19, 1988




20        9          Daniels, Barry, January 5, 1989

                        Berman, Lois, May 17, 1989. Includes “American Dreams” programs

                        Ford, Richard, August 10, 1989

                        Sinise, Gary, November 4, 1989




20        10        Jewell, Cathy, October 18, 1990

                        Halpern, Daniel, October 25,1990

                        Jewell, Cathy, October  25, 1990

                        Hill, Steve, December 18, 1990




20        11        Jewell, Cathy, January 14, 1991

                        Berman, Lois, January 17, 1991

                        Newman, Paul, May 15, 1991

                        Eberle, Martin, June 28, 1991, Includes six 9 1/2  x 11 1/2 black and white

                                    photographs of Shepard and others




20        12        "R.J." (initials only), October 8, 1992

                        Callens, Johan (to Lois Berman), October 30, 1992




20        13        Callens, Johan (to Lois Berman), October 1, 1993

                        Kulkhe, K., October 6, 1993




20        14        Shelley, Guy, March 15, 1994

                        Boals, Judy, April 15, 1994. Includes poster and slides from a Paris production of

Icarus’s Mother




20        15        Boals, Judy, March 24, 1995. Includes Theater Hall of Fame program




20        16        O'Hearn, Patrick, March 12, 1996

                        West, Robert, Jr., March 17, 1996

                        Jones, O-Lan, March 21, 1996

                        Boals, Judy, April 19, 1996

                        Boals, Judy, April 22, 1996

                        Kirchwey, Karl, April 22, 1996

                        Morris, Tom (to Judy Boals), April 24, 1996

                        Houghton, James, April, 25, 1996

                        McKimmie, Ilyse, May 1, 1996

                        West, Robert  Jr., May 1, 1996

                        Boals, Judy, May 2, 1996

                        Oliver, Liz, May 2, 1996

                        Teale, Sarah, May 3, 1996

                        “New Yorker” editorial office, May 18, 1996

                        Giuliani, Rudolph, May 22, 1996. re: 50th anniversary of Tony Awards

                        Butcher, Peggy (to Judy Boals), May 23, 1996

                        Stevenson, Isabelle (June 6, 1996)

                        McCormick, Anne (to Luann Walther), June 10, 1996

                        Allen, Georgina, June 11, 1996. Includes cover art for Methuen publications of Plays

1 and 3.

                        Pacquette, Brian, June 25, 1996

                        Morris, Tom, July 24, 1996

                        Singer, Sally, August 6, 1996

                        Weinberg, Samantha, August 6, 1996

                        Morris, Tom, September 16, 1996

                        Carvalho, Jim, September 30, 1996




20        17        Notice from Academy of Arts and Letters re: death of Alan Ginsberg, April 5, 1997

Aronowitz, Al, May 1, 1997

                        Adolphe, Bruce (to Judy Boals), August 14, 1997

                        "Santo,” October 21, 1997




20        18        Shepard, Sam (to Magic Theater ), April 29, 1998

                        Boals, Judy, July 23, 1998

                        Callahan, Michael (to Judy Boals), September 14, 1998




20        19        "Freddie and Lara" (first names only)

                        McAdams, "Coach"

                        Multiple authors  (first names only)


                        Joseph Chaikin, 1984-1987


21        1          Letters (1984-1997)


                        Barry Daniels, 1984-1989


21        2          Correspondence, 1987-1989

21        3          Uncorrected advance proof

21        4          Articles on Chaikin and Shepard

21        5          Photograph of Chaikin by Ray Maichen, undated


Series VIII: Clippings, 1983-1988; undated


22        1-2       Clippings, 1983-1988

22        3          Clippings, undated


Series IX: Awards, 1982-1998


22        4          Common Wealth Awards in Dramatic Arts program and press release, 1988

                        American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow list of members selected,

                                    correspondence, and certificate, 1989

                        American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Drama

                                    program, 1992

                        Theater Hall of Fame Scroll of Honor presented by Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor of the

                                    City of New York certificate, 1995

                        Star on the Playwrights Sidewalk at the Lucille Lortel Theater, NYC. Certificate

                                    announcing the placement of the Star on the sidewalk, news clipping, 1988


Series X: Interviews, 1980-1997


22        5          Conversation between Shepard and Bob Dylan, taped by Shepard, ca. mid 1980s-

                                    early 1990s. Three sixty minute Tapes marked “Bob 1”—“Bob 6.” Fourth

            cassette is partly marked “Bob” but is only unrelated music. The three

            interview tapes have been transferred to CD for listening purposes.


22        6          Interview of Shepard on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air,” August, 1996

                        Interview of Shepard by Paris Review regarding Shepard's writing process. Final

                                    typescript and gallery, 1997


Series XI: Readings, 1991-1994


22        7          Jack Kerouac film documentary, 1991, Correspondence, notes, script material,

                                    annotated Kerouac excerpts, sent by Johnny Dark.

22        8          "Malestroms Large and Small: An Evening of Primo Levi," Manhattan Theater Club 

                                    script and correspondence, 1991

22        9          Cowboy Poetry reading which included "Pecos Bill" by Shepard, among  25 poems

                                    by others.  Performing Group later known as "Green River Ropin' and Recitin'

                                    Preservation Society." Correspondence and photocopies of Poems, 1993

Series XII: Published Compilations of Shepard’s Works, 1983-1984


Box     Folder


22        10        "Y" of New York City (Unterberg Poetry Center on 92nd Street and Y, New York

                        City) includes guest pass, letter regarding travel arrangements, and

                        Shepard's annotated readings.


23        1          Galleys for Vintage publication o States of Shock, Far North, and Silent Tongue.

23        2          Cover art proposals for trade publications of plays: States of Shock, Far North, and

                                    Silent Tongue.


Series XIII: Works by Others, 1984-1998; undated


                        Articles, 1990-1991; undated


23        3          Schvey, Henry I. "The Master and His Double: Eugene O'Neil and Sam Shepard"

                                    Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Spring 1991, pgs. 49-60


23        4          Schvey, Henry.  "A Worm in the Wood: The Father-Son Relationship in the Plays of

                                    Sam Shepard," typescript, undated

23        5          Sparr, Landy; Erstling, Susan; Boehnlein, James.  "Sam Shepard and the

                                    Dysfunctional American Family: Therapeutic Perspectives," American

                                    Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. XLIV, No. 4, October, 1990 (photocopy)


                        Books, 1988, 1990


23        6          Beckett, Samuel.  Stirring Still.  Illus. By Louise le Brocquy. Blue Moon Books: New

                                    York, 1988.

23        7          Weber, Bruce. Photocopy of proposed book of photographs of Shepard to raise funds

                                    for Film Forum Theater. (1990)


                        Audiocassettes, 1984


23        8          Lou Reed "New Sensations" RCA 1984

                        "The Moray Eels Eat at the Holy Modal Rounders" Elektra Records, undated

                        Night Voices.  "Intimacy / Insomnia," undated



                        Screenplays, 1989-1996


23        9          Beresford, Bruce. "Curse of the Starving Class," 3rd draft, typescript, May 5, 1992

23        10        Beresford, Bruce.  "Curse of the Starving Class," 4th draft, typescript, July 1, 1992

23        11        Cocks, Jay.  "Brownsville Girl," 8 page movie treatment, November, 1996


24        1          Foote, Horton.  "Lily Dale," typescript, November 1995

24        2          Foote, Horton.  "Lily Dale," Plano Production.  Includes: production notes, one-line

                                    schedules, and typescript, December 1995

24        3          Hicks, James.  "Defenseless," annotated shooting script and schedule.  Film featured

                                    Shepard, Barbara Hershey, and Mary Beth Hurt.  Directed by Martin

                                    Campbell, 1989

24        4          Johnson, Randi.  "Thin Skin," 1st draft, 19 page typescript, January 12, 1990

24        5          Johnson, Randi.  "Thin Skin," 2nd draft, 18 page typescript, January 22, 1990

24        6          Jones, Tommy  Lee and Allen. J.T.  "The Good Old Boys." 6th draft typescript with

                                    location map , wardrobe sketch for Hewey, and shooting schedule, 1994


25        1          Ketron, Larry.  "The Only Thrill," heavily annotated typescript, location information, 

                                    and shooting schedule.  The film featured Shepard and Dianne Keaton,

                                    October, 1996

25        2          Scholz, John.  "When the World Was Green."  Revised draft typescript, July 20, 1994

25        3          Warchus, Matthew  and Nicholls, David.  "Simpatico." First draft typescript and

                                    correspondence, 1996

25        4          Wenders, Wim and Dommartin, Solveig, story.  Almereyda, Michael, screenplay. 

                                    "Until the End of the World,"  typescript, with letter from Wenders, 1987-1988


                        Short Stories, undated


25        5          Williams, Tennessee.  "The Man in the Overstuffed Chair," photocopy  from

                                    published source.




25        6          Jacoby, Oren.  "America's Playwrights: The Fugitive Kind," treatment for 20 minute

                                    television documentary for the American Theater Project.  Draft typescript

                                    October 10, no year

25        7          McMurtry, Larry and Ossana, Diana. "Streets of Laredo." Photocopy of October 1,

                                    1994 re-write.  Shepard played the Role of Pea Eye Parker.                 



Series XIV: Framed Posters


1. One 28” x 39” framed poster for True West production presented by the Nouvelle Compagnie Theatrale, in French (black background with white lettering).


2. One 24 1/2” x 34” framed poster for True West, L’ouest, Le vrai presented by Theatre National, in French (black background with white, red and blue lettering).


3. One 20 1/2” x 28” framed poster for the Turkish production of True West, Vahsi Bati (white background with brown hat and red tie).


4. One 13 1/2” x 19 1/2” framed poster from the Brazilian production of Fool for Love, Louco de Amor, in Portuguese (black and white photo of woman holding man’s leg)


Oversize Items


Box 26            Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife. Manuscript musical score by

Loren Toolajian, 1997


Box 27                        Restricted letters from Shepard’s son, Jesse.