David Mamet papers sold to University of Texas

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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 04/18/07 11:56 AM

This is interesting...

David Mamet has sold his papers -- over 100 boxes dating from 1966 up through 2001 -- to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. Included are drafts of many of his well known scripts and screenplays, 175 journals containing between 150 and 200 pages each, and correspondence with a number of well known celebrities.

Of interest to magicians would be the "extensive correspondence" with Ricky Jay. Presumably there's also director's notes on Ricky's two Broadway shows, which were directed by Mamet.

Press Release

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 04/18/07 01:56 PM

How sad that yet another interesting group of ephemera will disappear into the dark basement of an uncaring institution where it will be left to deteriorate and never see the light of day again.... :(
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 04/18/07 02:05 PM

Well, I disagree with that. The HRC has a very nice magic collection, for instance, that has not "disappeared", and it actually very easy to access. Everything I've read so far about this acquisition leads me to believe that this collection will also be widely available. For example, see this quote from the president of the University of Texas:

"David Mamet's materials will be a great resource for students and scholars here at the university," said University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. "He is one of the foremost and influential American writers and directors. I am personally pleased that his work is coming to the Ransom Center, because I have regularly had my freshman seminar students study 'The Spanish Prisoner.' "
In fact, over the next four years, Mamet himself serve a number of short residencies. As stated in the press release, "During these residencies, Mamet may be a guest lecturer in various courses, work with students on the production of a play and give readings, lectures and public addresses."

I think this is far from being hidden in some dark basement.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 04/18/07 03:39 PM

I've dealt with the Ransom Center and while slow, found them most accomodating in fulfilling research requests.

The papers will not vanish or lack for preservation, indeed, this is one of the better places they could have gone. Hopefully, Mamet has not placed any serious restrictions on them, like the 50-year moratorium Robert Heinlein imposed on his papers. I had to get special permission from his widow to penetrate that.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 04/19/07 06:39 AM

As far as I can tell, there aren't any restrictions on the Mamet material. Both the press release from the University as well as Mamet's personal statement seem to indicate that it will be made available to all interested researchers.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 04/19/07 07:58 AM

The HRC is indeed very accomodating to researchers. I expect that once the Mamet materials have been inventoried, they will be available to onsite researchers upon request. Some may even be digitized and available online some day. The Houdini-Soo/Robinson correspondence in Todd Karr's THE SILENCE OF CHUNG LING SOO is from the HRC. Bill Kalush and Larry Sloman made a pilgrimage to Austin to research their Houdini book, and Ricky Jay has paid it a number of visits as well. It is a wonderful resource and a great example of what a properly funded and professionally staffed public institution can be.
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Postby Kevin Connolly » 04/19/07 02:13 PM

Ken Silverman had access to it to in the mid 1990's. It seems like they have a handle on their collections.
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Postby Guest » 05/03/07 04:54 AM

As an alumni of The University of Texas, I have found the Harry Ransom Center to be the most perfect research center. After they lost lots of Barum and Houdini stuff to a fire in the 70's? they really have built a wonderful museum. They had this auction tycoon who just went around the country out-bidding evryone else, with oil money, and blank checks, he never wanted to come back to Austin, because then they would question his purchases. The Houdini stuff is amazing, and you can peek thru the log books and see who else has been there.
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