Frank O'Rourke audio book, 1999

Overview of the Collection

O'Rourke, Frank, 1916-1989
Frank O'Rourke audio book
1999 (inclusive)
4 audiocassettes
Collection Number
The Frank O'Rourke audio book (1999) is an audio recording of Ellen and the Barber, a novel divided into three novellas set in the 1930s and published posthumously in 1997. Born in Denver, Colorado, Frank O'Rourke was a prolific author, many of whose stories were related to the American West.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Materials must be used on-site; no use of original material, access copies will be made available for viewing. Five business days advanced notice required. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law, condition of the material, or by donor.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Frank O'Rourke (1916-1989) was born in Denver, Colorado. In a career spanning four decades, he published more than sixty works of fiction. The versatility which became a hallmark of O'Rourke's writing was demonstrated in the more than one hundred short stories which appeared during the 1940s and 1950s in such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies' Home Journal, and Esquire. His first book, E Company, introduced in 1945 by Simon and Schuster, was hailed as the work of a "fresh and outstanding talent."

From 1948 to 1956, O'Rourke published seven sports novels, two mysteries (one under the pseudonym Frank O'Malley), an industrial novel, and twenty westerns. The early westerns were published in hardcover by Random House, and since they were continually reprinted, they came to be his most visible work and he was generally categorized over the years as a writer of westerns, the range of his work being overlooked.

While O'Rourke continued to write adventure westerns for several mass market publishers through the 1950s, he began a relationship with William Morrow and Company for publication of his more substantial work. The Diamond Hitch (1958) dealt with the realities of western range life and was the first to rank with authentic Americana, followed by The Last Ride (1958), a story of an old, freedom loving cowboy, chasing a proud old stallion who loves his freedom just as much. The Man Who Found Mountains (1957) was one of the few works of fiction to make effective literary use of Hispanic witchcraft in New Mexico.

In 1959, O'Rourke's historical novel of New Mexico, The Far Mountains, won the Southern Library Association biennial award for a work which "best reflected the culture and heritage of the southwest and for literary excellence." William Morrow and Company supported O'Rourke's creative endeavors, and in the years during their association, published novels set in midwest America, which drew on his Nebraska background.

Contemporary satires on modern society's worship of money, Instant Gold (1964), and the automobile, The Duchess Says No (1965), were the last to be published by Morrow; Kevin Connor and Patrick O'Malley were two pseudonyms used during this period. O'Rourke moved to J. B. Lippincott for the publication of The Swift Runner (1969) and The Abduction of Virginia Lee (1970). Three novels were produced as motion pictures, including the classic adventure film The Professionals in 1966 from his novel A Mule for the Marquesa (1964).

In his final years, Frank O'Rourke devoted himself to the creation of stories for children. The first, Burton and Stanley, was published posthumously by David R. Godine in 1993 to numerous accolades in the children's book trade and was also given a Parents Choice Award. In addition to this, Ellen and the Barber, a book of three short stories, set in the 1930s, was published, also posthumously, by St. Martins Press in 1997. In 2002, a collection of early baseball stories, The Heavenly Work Series, was published by Carroll and Graf, with an introduction by Darryl Brock.

Frank O'Rourke continued writing until the end of his life. Finally, beset by constant pain from a twenty-year struggle with bronchial asthma and fighting the effects of prednisone (a dangerous steroid), Frank O'Rourke took back his destiny and ended his life on 27 April 1989 in Tucson, Arizona.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Frank O'Rourke audio book (1999) is an audio recording of Ellen and the Barber, a novel divided into three novellas set in the 1930s and published posthumously in 1997. This audiobook has been digitized and is availble to listen to on compact disc.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Related Materials

See also the Frank O'Rourke papers (Accn 1201) and photograph collection (P0351).

Processing Note

Procssed by Tawnya Mosier in 2001.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1-4 Ellen and the Barber

Published by Blackstone Audiobooks; Read by Mary Woods.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Authors, American
  • Short stories

Form or Genre Terms

  • Sound recordings