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Frank Waters Papers

Identifier: SWWC-137

Scope and Contents

This collection contains papers by and about Frank Waters and some associates connected to Waters. The bulk of the collection concerns papers related to the Frank Waters Foundation and its activities. The collection is organized into six series: Correspondence, Writings by Frank Waters, Writings about Frank Waters, The Frank Waters Foundation, Frank Waters' Associates, Other Writings, Oversized, and Artifacts.

Series 1, Correspondence (box 1), includes letters to and from Frank Waters, as well as correspondence of Barbara Waters. Spans 1948 - 2006, organized chronologically.

Series 2, Writings by Frank Waters (box 1), contains various writings from 1950 - 1993, with the bulk spanning from 1950 - 1951 with some undated materials. This series also includes photocopies of El Crepusculo from 1950 - 1951 during which time Frank Waters was editor. Items are arranged chronologically.

Series 3, Writings about Frank Waters (box 1), concerns various writings about Frank Waters and his works. This includes, but is not limited to, articles about Frank Waters, reviews of his works, memorial articles discussing the life and legacy of Waters. Items are arranged chronologically.

Series 4, Frank Waters Foundation (box 2 - 4), comprises the bulk of the collection and contains materials related to the Frank Waters Foundation and the Frank Waters Society. This series is further subdivided into five subseries: Operations, Newsletters, Website, Tributes, and Conferences/Workshops. Operations contains various operational materials including a master list of members as of September 2005. Newsletters are dated from 1993-2006. The Website subseries contains a printout of the Sheltering the Creative Spirit as it appeared as of January 23, 2002. The Tributes subseries concerns materials related to events held in Frank Waters' honor such as invitations and itineraries of the events. Finally, the Conferences/Workshops contain materials concerning academic conferences such as Studies in Frank Waters (1982 - 1992), and other workshops at least partly organized by the Frank Waters Foundation. All materials are organized chronologically within their subseries.

Series 5, Frank Waters' Associates (box 4), concerns materials associated with Frank Waters and the Frank Waters Foundation, Alexander Blackburn, Geoffrey and Mary Torrence, and Barbara Waters, Frank Waters' wife. These are organized chronologically within their grouping.

Series 6, Other Writings (box 4), contains writings that do not specifically address Frank Waters, but are related to themes and other topics of interest within the collection.

Series 7, Oversized (box 5), comprises of three photographs of Frank Waters, photocopies of El Crepusculo from September 1949 - December 1950, a copy of Tempo from July 1992.

Series 8, Artifacts (box 6), consists of five bronze statues, including one of his face and two of his writing hand.


  • 1929 - 2006
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 2006


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 Note

Frank Waters was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado on July 25, 1902. He felt a deep connection with the geographic area known as the American Southwest that could be seen in many of his writings. His works were inspired by this deep connection of this geographic area in addition to many other topics and themes related to the American Southwest. Over the course of his lifetime, Waters wrote and published over 25 books, in addition to other works, beginning early on his life, when his short story “How It Was Settled” was first published in 1916 when Waters was fourteen. While Waters wrote many influential books and other written works, he is probably best known for his book The Man Who Killed the Deer, which was published in 1942.

Waters spent most of his life in New Mexico, particularly in Arroyo Seco, where he moved to after working for the office of Inter-American Affairs in Washington D.C. in the early 1940s. In addition to his writings, Waters was also the editor of El Crepusculo, a Spanish-English newspaper that operates out of Taos, New Mexico from 1949 to 1951 and book reviewer for the Saturday Review of Literature from 1950 to 1956. In 1992, the Frank Waters Foundation was established in his name with the idea of encouraging literary and artistic advancement in the spirit of Frank Waters and for the American Southwest. Much of the Frank Waters Papers is related to the efforts of this organization. Waters died at the age of 92 in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico on June 3,1995.


5 Linear Feet

6 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.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mary Torrence, 2017.

Notes to Researchers

The University of New Mexico houses The Frank Waters Papers, 1892-1992 at the University Libraries, Center for Southwest Research

Guide to the Frank Waters Papers
Megan McSwain and Eric Robertson-Gordon
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 Katie Salzmann.

Repository Details

Part of the The Wittliff Collections Repository

601 University Drive
San Marcos Texas 78666 USA