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Frank Waters Correspondence and Contracts

Identifier: MSS-852-BC

Scope and Content

The bulk of this collection consists of general correspondence files regarding contracts and copyright for several Frank Waters books. Included are copies of signed agreements, contracts, business activities, and letters about publication and copyright. Most of the correspondence is between Waters and Joan Daves, who managed negotiations between Waters and Swallow Press. This collection documents plans and goals for publication and film rights regarding some of Waters best titles. Also included are copies of signed documents and letters from various editors and publishers who wanted to do business with Waters.


  • 1935-1983
  • Majority of material found in 1961-1980


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.

Biography / History

Frank Waters, writer and editor, was born July 25, 1902, at the foot of Pike's Peak, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His father, who was part Cherokee died when Frank was 12 years old. It was his father who initially sparked Frank's interest in Indian culture.

Waters attended Colorado College (Colorado Springs) from 1922-25 as an engineering student. He dropped out after his third year to take a job as a laborer in the Salt Creek, Wyoming oil fields. He later worked as an engineer for the Southern California Telephone Company on the Mexican border. Waters moved back to Colorado in 1935 to work on the second two volumes of his Colorado mining trilogy. He moved to New Mexico's Mora Valley in 1937, and relocated to Taos in 1938. When World War II broke out, he worked for the office of Inter-American Affairs, Washington, D.C., as a chief content officer and propaganda analyst. After the War, Waters returned to New Mexico and bought his home in Arroyo Seco. He was editor of El Crepusculo, a weekly Spanish-English newspaper (1949-1951); and book reviewer for the Saturday Review of Literature (1950-1956). Waters also held positions as information consultant for Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, New Mexico, and for the City of Las Vegas, Nevada, (1952-1956). He held a variety of other jobs, including writer for C.O. Whitney Motion Picture Co., Los Angeles (1957), writer-in-residence, Colorado State University, Fort Collins (1966); and director, New Mexico Arts Commission, Santa Fe, (1966-68).

Waters' first publication was a short story called, "How It Was Settled," published in 1916. He began publishing in earnest in the 1930s. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 25 books and numerous articles and short works. Thematically, many of his publications relate to the Southwest and Native American culture. Mayan cosmology, atomic physics, and taoism are other topics evident in Waters' works. Waters' style distinguishes between the popular Western and the novel of the Southwest. His revealing, stark descriptions of the Southwestern landscape and the story of human adaptation to the environment has turned People of the Valley and The Man Who Killed the Deer into classics. In addition to his popular and successful publications, Waters' historical novel, River Lady has been produced as a film (Universal International.) Articles by Waters have appeared in numerous periodicals and publications. Foreign translations are in languages including French and German.

Frank Waters died in New Mexico on June 3, 1995 at the age of 92.


1 box (.45 cu. ft.)

Language of Materials


Related Material

Frank Waters Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Oral History Interviews with Frank Waters Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico Ann Merrill correspondence from Frank Waters Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico
Finding Aid of the Frank Waters Correspondence and Contracts, 1935-1983
Natalie Sedore
© 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

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