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Beverly Lowry Papers

Identifier: SWWC-061

Scope and Contents

Numerous typescript drafts, correspondence, notes, clippings, journals and photographs, ranging in date from 1950-1998, document Beverly Lowry’s writing career. The bulk of the papers relate to four of Lowry’s seven published books, with The Perfect Sonya and Crossed Over being the most fully represented.


  • 1950-1998


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

Beverly Lowry was born August 10, 1938, in Memphis, Tennessee, and moved with her family at age six to Greenville, Mississippi. She attended the University of Mississippi (1956-58) and graduated with a B.A. from Memphis State University in 1960. She married Glenn Lowry in June 1960, and moved with him to Manhattan. There, she pursued acting and experimented in writing. After relocating to Houston in 1965, Lowry began to write stories, some of which became novels. Lowry began teaching fiction writing as an associate professor at the University of Houston in 1976, while also pursuing acting, and serving on boards for the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, and for Houston Festival. Her fiction writing has typically been set in Texas and Mississippi. Her first two novels, Come Back, Lolly Ray and Emma Blue were both set in Eunola, Mississippi a fictional town much like her hometown of Greenville. Her next three novels and one work of non-fiction were set in Texas, with her most recent novel, The Track of Real Desires, being again set in the fictional Eunola, Mississippi.

The Lowrys lived just outside San Marcos along the San Marcos River from 1981-1991. One of the Lowrys’ two sons, Peter, died in a hit-and-run accident on the highway from San Marcos to their home in 1984. This experience and other personal losses in the early 1980s “caused a marked change in the tone of Lowry’s fiction. Gone is her unqualified faith in the future; present is a new preoccupation with fate or chance, even a hint that felicity may invite disaster,” (Contemporary Southern Writers, St. James Press, 1999). These themes of isolation and alienation appear in The Perfect Sonya(1987), The Track of Real Desires (1994), and clearly in Crossed Over: A Murder, A Memoir (1992). Beginning in 1989, Lowry approached and visited convicted pickaxe murderer Karla Faye Tucker, on death row in Hunstville, Texas. Crossed Over relates the story of Karla Faye Tucker as well as some of Lowry’s own personal story, resulting in “far more than the usual true-crime tale. Lowry interwove the story of her own troubled son with a chilling account of Tucker’s dangerously out-of-control life to achieve an understanding of the human being behind an ostensibly inhuman act; her leap of imagination and empathy enabled her, at last, to make peace with Peter’s death,” (Texas Monthly, Feb. 2001). Lowry moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s, and currently teaches at George Mason University, in Virginia. She continues to write essays and non-fiction, and has been working on a biography of Madame C. J. Walker, the first Black woman to become a self-made millionaire.


20 boxes (Plus artifacts.)

10 Linear Feet

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.


Typescript drafts, correspondence, notes, clippings, journals, and photographs document the writing career of Beverly Lowry. The bulk of the papers relate to four of Lowry’s seven published books, with The Perfect Sonya and Crossed Overbeing the most fully represented. The collection is arranged into the following seven series: Works, Correspondence, Clippings, Publicity, Computer disks, Personal, and Artifacts.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts of Beverly Lowry, 1994-1998.

Related Materials

Beverly Lowry Additions (UPWC 04109)

Guide to the Beverly Lowry Papers
Amanda York
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2011: Finding aid revised by Maggie DeBrecht.
  • 2021: Revised for ArchivesSpace by Susannah Broyles.

Repository Details

Part of the The Wittliff Collections Repository

601 University Drive
San Marcos Texas 78666 USA