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Donley Watt Papers

Identifier: SWWC-104

Scope and Contents

The Donley Watt Papers span the years from 1970 to 2004. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, clippings, notes, drafts, and computer discs. The bulk of the papers is focused on the writings of his published works from 1994 to 2004: Can You Get There From Here; The Journal of Hector Rabinal; Haley, Texas 1959; Reynolds; and Dancing with Lyndon. Other materials in the collection concern Watt’s short story ideas, essays, and reviews. Short story and essay titles often are repeated in Series III and Series IV. This follows the original arrangement of the collection by Donley Watt. There are five series in the collection: Personal Papers, 1970-2004; Novels, 1994-2004; Short Fiction; Other Writings; Media.


  • 1970-2004


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials from the Wittliff Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user assumes responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish, and abiding by U.S. copyright laws.

Biographical Notes

Writer Donley Watt was born in 1940, and he arrived in Athens in East Texas at the age of five. After graduating Athens High School, Watt attended Henderson County Junior College for one year then moved on to the University of Texas, where he received his Masters in History. In 1973, Watt helped found Austin Community College and was its dean for a few years. In his life, Watt has been a land man in the oil business, owned an herb farm, and owned a contemporary art gallery.  In 1987, Watt decided to go back to school to achieve his childhood dream and become a writer. In the early 1990s, Donley Watt lived, traveled, and researched in Mexico and Guatemala. For six years, Watt was the writer in residence at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.  e has also taught at Northern Arizona University and at the University of Arizona. Watt is the former vice-president of The Texas Institute of Letters. Currently he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Can You Get There From Here?, a collection of short stories, was published in September 1994, which won the Texas Institute of Letters’ Stephen F. Turner Award for best first work of fiction. The Journey of Hector Rabinal (also published in 1994) was a finalist for a Western Writers of America Spur Award and translated in Spanish in 1995 by a publisher in Mexico City. Haley, Texas 1959, and 2 novellas followed in 1999. Watt then published Reynolds in 2002 and Dancing with Lyndon in 2004. He has also published numerous essays and reviews.


7.5 Linear Feet

18 boxes

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

  • The descriptive data created for this finding aid is licensed under the CC0 Creative Commons license and is free for use without restriction.


Correspondence, drafts, notes, research, and reviews from novelist Donley Watt.  The collection is arranged into the following five series: Personal Papers, 1970-2004; Novels 1994-2004; Short Fiction; Other Writings; Media.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Donley Watt in 2004 and 2006.

Guide to the Donley Watt Papers
Processed by Michael (Mac) McFadden, Chad McFadon, Adrienne Richey, and Martha George Withers.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Revised for ArchivesSpace by Susannah Broyles.

Repository Details

Part of the The Wittliff Collections Repository

601 University Drive
San Marcos Texas 78666 USA