The battle for the literary archives appears to be heating up. While the Ransom Center at University of Texas, Austin, is a dominant force, an upstart has emerged in South Carolina.
On Wednesday, the University of South Carolina announced that it has acquired the archives of crime writer Elmore Leonard. Leonard, who died in 2013 at age 87, authored more than 45 books, several screenplays and more.
Leonard’s best-known works include “Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight,” “Hombre” “Freaky Deaky,” “The Switch,” “Rum Punch” (which became the film “Jackie Brown”) and the television series “Justified.”
In a statement, Leonard’s son Peter Leonard explained that his father had visited university and had been impressed by the other archives in the school’s collection, which include papers from Ernest Hemingway and George V. Higgins.
“He went to visit the library and he was blown away,” Peter Leonard said in a release. “Elmore was a major Hemingway fan. He was the influence that got my dad to write.”
The manuscript for Higgins’ novel “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” “got dad’s attention,” Peter Leonard continued. “That book set my dad free. It really changed his outlook on writing. George Higgins was free with characters and dialogue. Hemingway and Higgins were the two influences in my father’s life.”
Another major literary archive holder is Southern California’s Huntington Library, which has expanded its holdings of contemporary writers by recently acquiring the archives of Octavia Butler and Charles Bukowski.
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