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Wilfred McCormick Papers,

Identifier: MSS-302-BC

Scope and Content

The papers of Wilfred McCormick relate largely to his occupation as a professional writer and speaker, and are divided into four series. The first, devoted to general material, includes his general correspondence from 1927 to 1983; correspondence concerning his speeches, lectures, and workshops from 1939 to 1979; the programs from these engagements; and general scrapbooks and newspaper clippings. It reveals a great deal about McCormick's community service and his speaking engagements.

The writing and publishing series constitutes the bulk of the collection, and also its most important part. McCormick's correspondence with his publishers from 1932 to 1969 is included here, as are booklists, material on book and jacket illustration, book reviews, fan letters from adults and children, contracts, plot outlines, drafts, manuscripts, proofs, the "evolution" of Seven in Front from outline to reprint edition, posters, and material acquired in connection with filming his stories. This series provides a behind-the-scenes view of a professional writer's career, covering a period of nearly 50 years.

McCormick was an active Rotarian for many years, and this involvement is documented in the Rotary Club files. Correspondence, newsletters, and introductions of speakers comprise most of this series, which illustrates the activities of an important local service club. In December 2004, 2 scrapbooks were added to the collection, both relating to McCormick's Rotary Club involvements.

The fourth and final series is quite diverse, with little underlying unity. Perhaps the most interesting part of it is the poetry by S. Omar Barker, New Mexico author and McCormick's brother-in-law. Other items include McCormick's yearbooks from the University of Illinois, photographs, an early draft of T.M Pearce's New Mexico Place Names, and some correspondence with Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

In March 1997, pulp magazines, manuscripts, dust jackets, and character descriptions were added to the collection. In 2017, more materials were added to the collection. This includes correspondence, contracts, copyright documents, and manuscripts - prose, screenplays, and television series. Also added are manuscript materials related to McCormick's third wife, Helene Huff McCormick.


  • 1921-1994

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Wilfred McCormick, though born in Newland, Indiana, in 1903, can be considered one of New Mexico's most successful and prolific authors. His parents moved to New Mexico when he was a child and, by his own account, he grew up as a cowboy in the mountains once roamed by Billy the Kid. After high school in Hagerman, McCormick played semi-professional baseball and basketball while attending the University of Illinois. Much of the background for his sports books was derived from this experience.

Returning to New Mexico in 1930, McCormick embarked on his life's work as a professional writer and lecturer. From then until he entered the army in 1942, he wrote hundreds of short stories for juvenile and western pulp magazines. After his discharge as a lieutenant colonel in 1946, McCormick moved his family to Albuquerque, where he lived until his death in 1983.

In 1948, McCormick published The Three-Two Pitch, the first of an enormously successful line of sports fiction for boys. Over the next twenty years, he wrote about fifty of these novels, which were much-acclaimed by educators, public figures, and youth groups. The most popular series revolved around Bronc Burnett, a high school athlete from the fictional village of Sonora, N.M. Others featured Dyke Redman, a college star, Roy Rolfe, a professional football player, and Rocky McCune, a high school and later a college coach.

Complementing his occupation as a writer, McCormick was a tireless speaker and lecturer. He once estimated that his appearances at conferences, workshops, graduations, dinner meetings, etc., numbered over 1,000. He also taught creative writing at UNTI's Community College from 1949 to 1976.

In addition to the demands of speaking, writing, and teaching, McCormick was active in Albuquerque community affairs. Through the years, he worked with many charitable and civic groups, such as the Society for Crippled Children and the Boy Scouts. A long-time Rotarian, McCormick was president of the Albuquerque club in 1952-53, and then was district governor in 1967-68.

McCormick was married three times. His first wife, Eleanor Paddock, was the mother of two children, Kathryn and Robert. After her death, he married Rebecca Fee, who died in 1960. His third wife, Helene Huff, survived him.


13 boxes (11.5 cu. ft.)

Related Material

McCormick presented "evolutions," similar to ours of Seven in Front, to several other institutions. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Five-Man Break Texas Tech. University Rough Stuff Highland High School, Albuquerque, N.M. The Three-Two Pitch Boston University Grand-Slam Homer Boston University Once a Slugger University of Southern Mississippi The Long Pitch University of Southern Mississippi Rebel with a Glove University of Wyoming The Phantom Shortstop New Mexico Highlands University The Go-Ahead Runner Eastern New Mexico University

Separated Material

Published versions of Seven In Front have been transferred to CSWR book collection.

Processing Information

Additional materials were added to this collection in March 1997, December 2004, and March 2017. The 1997 addition primarily contains pulp magazines and manuscripts. The December 2004 addition consists of 2 scrapbooks pertaining to McCormick's Rotary Club involvements. The 2017 addition includes correspondence, contracts, copyright documents, and manuscripts, as well as manuscripts and materials related to McCormick's third wife, Helene Huff McCormick. Boxes were consolidated in 2017, hence, box numbers have changed.
Finding Aid of the Wilfred McCormick Papers, 1921-1994
Processed by CSWR Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 302 BC::Wilfred McCormick Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss302bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131