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The collection includes Athanas' personal and professional correspondence, source and idea notes, miscellaneous papers, teleplays, manuscripts, and western writers association correspondence and documents.
The papers include Athanas' professional correspondence with publishers, editors, agents, other writers, and readers. There is a major file of letters to and from Athanas's agent, Marguerite Harper. There is also correspondence with H. Allen Smith and Writers Digest. Manuscripts of almost all of Athanas's published and unpublished stories are in the collection, many with the published piece. There is also a source book and idea books. Athanas was an officer in the Western Writers of America, and the papers include his correspondence, 1959-1962, with the organization.
Source and idea notes include Athanas' personal notebooks as well as transcripts of pioneer diaries.
The manuscripts include short stories as well as proofs of Athanas' novels The Proud Ones and Rogue Valley. There are over two-hundred manuscripts in the collection.
William Verne Athanas (1917-1962) was born in Cleft, Idaho. His family moved to Oregon when he was very young.
"He graduated from Ashland High School in 1936, then married fellow graduate Alice Spencer. Along the way he slopped hogs, dug postholes, drove trucks, was a railroad brakeman, a gandy dancer, a service station attendant, a stationery salesman and more.
"[In]1946 he became a full-time writer. Athanas wrote many short stories for such magazines as Indian Stories, Railroad Magazine, Country Gentleman, Blue Book, Argosy, Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, Redbook, and Collier's. His stories were mainly about Oregon--its railroads, mountains, forests, logging industry and history. He was the author of three novels. 20th Century Fox bought the screenplay rights to his novel, The Proud Ones.
"[Athanas] served for several years on the membership committee of Western Writers of America. And he contributed several short stories to the series of WWA anthologies. And in the May, 1954 issue of The Roundup, Athanas said of himself: 'I don't remember when I learned to read, nor can I put a finger on the first time I wanted to write. I play the typewriter by ear. I wouldn't know a past participle if it crawled off the paper and bit me, and I expect if it could, it would.'"
[Identification of item], W. Verne Athanas papers, Ax 212, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
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