Skip to main content

Norman C. Peterson papers

Identifier: 90.200-Faculty-2002-Peterson

Scope and Contents

The collection includes various articles, newspaper clippings, typed and handwritten manuscripts, notes, poems, journal entries, research, and other works by Norman C. Peterson, along with numerous theses he directed, his correspondence, and newspaper articles about him. The majority of the collection corresponds with his time at Southwest Texas State University, but there is also material he wrote while enlisted in the Navy and documents from his college years. The original order has been adhered to whenever possible. The most significant changes to the received order involved combining multiple drafts of manuscripts that were scattered throughout the collection and arranging his correspondence and writings alphabetically or chronologically for easier access. The collection spans the dates of 1937 to 1998, with the bulk of the material dated between 1951 and 1992.

The bulk of the collection is made up of Peterson's own works, primarily short stories and poems, which he created and revised throughout his adult life. There are forty-two short stories in various levels of completion, along with a number of untitled drafts, and twenty poems. Most of the collection is easy to use, though little of the correspondence and very few of the manuscript drafts are dated making it difficult to discern when they were written in comparison to others. The majority of the materials are in good condition, though there are some preservation concerns regarding faded ink and fragile newsprint.

The collection is divided into six series: Biographical materials, Correspondence, Works by Peterson, Works by others, Organizational affiliations, and the McCrocklin case files. Peterson's works, his correspondence, and the works of other authors have all been organized alphabetically, while his biographical materials have been organized topically and chronologically. The last two series are organized strictly by topic.


  • 1937-1998


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Special Collections and Archives owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections and Archives material in print or electronic form.

Biographical note

Norman C. Peterson was born on September 16, 1930 in Beaumont, Texas. After graduating high school at the age of sixteen, he enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin where he studied under Dr. William Perry, a renowned authority on James Joyce. During his sophomore year, he won the Dallas Times Herald Creative Writing Contest, a competition for young writers from all across the South, with his story "Why the Bugs Didn't Get Ben Gage." This story was part of an unpublished compilation of his short stories entitled Rice Country. This was his first taste of success in his chosen career field.

Before finishing his undergraduate studies, he left school to join the Navy. While enlisted, he trained as a fighter pilot and flew in the Korean War with the 6th and 7th fleets from 1950 through 1955. Peterson then returned to the University of Texas and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Philosophy in 1956.

With degree in hand, he took a job as a flight engineer and co-pilot with Braniff Airlines for two years. During this time, he received a Rotary Foundation Fellowship and studied in New Zealand from 1957 through 1958. While there, he met and married his wife Kay, a Braniff airlines flight attendant. He then returned to the states and received his Master of Arts degree from the University of Texas in 1960 and his PhD from the University of Iowa in 1964.

He began teaching at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos in 1963 while still working on his PhD, became a full professor there in 1974, and remained on the faculty until his death in 1992. His primary areas of specialization included creative writing, short fiction, and Norse mythology. During his time at the university, he won two teaching awards, served as acting head of the English department on numerous occasions, was one of the first to teach the university's freshman seminar course that all incoming students are required to attend, for which he wrote a portion of the text, created the Masters' program in English, participated in the American Council on Education's Academic Administrative Internship Program, and directed over sixty masters' theses.

Concurrently he was engaged in writing of his own, and many of his short stories and poems were published. He died on May 21, 1992 at the age of sixty-one.


2.71 Linear Feet (6 legal sized Hollinger boxes, and one legal half Hollinger box )

Language of Materials



Norman C. Peterson an alumnus and faculty member at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) as well as an author. The bulk of the collection is made up of Peterson's own works, primarily short stories and poems, which he created and revised throughout his adult life. Also includes journal entries, research, and newspaper clippings.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored offsite. Advance notice may be required for use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Kay Peterson, 2002.

Norman C. Peterson papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021-04: Revised for DACS compliance, Nicole Critchley

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Alkek Library Room 580
601 University Drive
San Marcos Texas 78666 USA