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Georgelle Hirliman Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-858-BC

Scope and Content

The collection contains personal and professional papers of Georgelle Cynthia Hirliman. The bulk of the collection documents Hirliman’s career as a writer. There are five main themes to the collection.

Personal files consist of correspondence, photographs, and press on Hirliman as a writer, literary performer and tarot card reader. Personal files also document Hirliman’s involvement with the Art Tarts performance group and some of her earliest self-published writings for the Art Tarts. Researchers will find here valuable material on Hirliman’s intimate relationships with friends, her belief in metaphysics, and her bohemian lifestyle.

News paper articles document Hirliman’s research of the 1974 Biker Trial and subsequent reporting after Kerry Rodney Lee’s confession. The files contain Hirliman’s and Lee’s correspondence, as well as documents from the new trial after Lee’s confession, including an affidavit and witness testimony. Hirliman’s various writings on the Biker Case are included in the files. Missing from the collection is her unpublished manuscript entitled The Wrong People.

The Hate Factory includes Hirliman’s biography, The Hate Factory chapter outlines, fan mail, press for the original publication and the 2005 updated version, and research materials for the updated edition. Absent from the collection is The Hate Factory manuscript.

Newspaper and magazine articles document Hirliman’s success as the "Writer in the Window." Files contain set up materials Hirliman used when she travelled to bookstores including the Bookstop in Albuquerque and the College of Santa Fe. Finally, the files contain Writer in the Window questions and answers.

Other writings include some published articles on art and astrology and an assortment of unpublished short stories and an unpublished novel entitled Love Story.

Dates

  • 1979-2010

Language of Materials

English

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 publications or distribution.

Biographical Information

Georgelle Cynthia Hirliman was born in Los Angeles, California on June 11, 1936. Female actor Eleanor Hunt and producer George A. Hirliman adopted Georgelle as a baby. The family relocated to New York City in 1943. Hirliman's unhappy upbringing and strained relationship with her mother and alcoholic father caused Hirliman to leave home as a teenager. She worked various jobs including a cigarette girl, model and call girl. She lived a transient life house-sitting for friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico, landing a radio job in Liberty, New York, and finding a venue for her metaphysical knowledge in Venice Beach, California where she read Tarot cards. She even went by different names throughout her life at one point in time calling herself Sima and when she began writing, some of her work was published under the names G.C. Cogdale and G. Durcan. During her time in Venice Beach Hirliman and two of her friends formed the Art Tarts, a performance art group that traversed the beach on Sunday afternoons and handed out self-published literature that Hirliman called freelance nouveau journalism.

Although Hirliman moved around she was continually drawn to the vibrant artistic and literary scenes of New Mexico. She found "solace, rest, recuperation and above all friends" there where she eventually settled with her only daughter, Heather Anne Marchetto. She got a job as a radio reporter in the 1970s for the now defunct KAFE-AM in Santa Fe, and KUNM in Albuquerque. Her most notable reporting was on the “Biker Trial" in 1974. She investigated the case of four bikers from the Vagos motorcycle gang accused of murdering University of New Mexico student William Velten Jr. The four bikers, Richard W. Greer, Thomas Gladish, Ronald Keine, and Clarence Smith Jr. were sentenced to death. Hirliman believed in their innocence and through her reporting set out to prove this. On September 19, 1975 Hirliman’s belief was vindicated when Kerry Rodney Lee confessed to murdering Velten. The four bikers were later released from prison. Hirliman penned an unpublished manuscript on the Biker Trial entitled The Wrong People. She connected with publisher Lou Kimsey of Easy Rider magazine, who promised to finance and publish the book, but the deal fell through in 1984. Interestingly, throughout her investigation, she developed a romantic relationship with one of the bikers, Richard Greer (known as Doc Sly) while he was incarcerated. After Doc Sly was released, the couple realized they had little in common and parted ways. Shortly after, Doc ended up back in prison on a stolen property charge.

Her involvement in the case and research associated with criminal activity gave her credibility in criminal journalism. When the New Mexico prison riots occurred in 1980 at the Penitentiary of New Mexico, she continued her investigation into the criminal world. Dell/Paisano published The Hate Factory in 1982. Twenty-five years later, Hirliman self-published the book to bring it back into print and added a new introduction.

After The Wrong People and The Hate Factory, Hirliman struggled with writers block. She decided to conquer her bout of writer’s block by stationing herself in bookstore windows with a sign: “Help Cure My Writer’s Block. Jot Down a Topic You’d Like a Paragraph Written About." Patrons and pedestrians wrote questions for Hirliman. She wrote her responses on white index cards, taping these cards to the window. Thus, Hirliman became the Writer in the Window and her literary performance led to the publication of her next book entitled Dear Writer in the Window: The Wit and Wisdom of a Sidewalk Sage (1992). Hirliman tackled questions on the meaning of life, love and sex and non sequesters. For ten years, Hirliman travelled to bookstore windows in New York, New Mexico and Oregon answering questions and freeing her writers block.

Hirliman continued to write, perform, and ply the arts of astrology and tarot. She lived in Santa Fe with her two cockatiels, finches and one pocket parrot, affectionately called Pocket. She passed away on January 29, 2010.

Extent

1 box (1 cu. ft.)

Abstract

This collection contains the papers of writer, journalist, literary performer and tarot card reader Georgelle Hirliman, with emphasis on her time in New Mexico. The papers relate to Hirliman’s writing, including The Hate Factory and Dear Writer in the Window, as well as unpublished short stories and manuscripts.

Related Material

Coalition for Prisoners Rights Records, Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Title
Finding Aid of the Georgelle Hirliman Papers, 1979-2010
Status
Completed
Author
Jordan Biro
Date
© 2010
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Repository Details

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

Contact:
University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131
505-277-6451