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Michael Blake papers

Identifier: MSS-894-BC

Scope and Content

This collection is organized into ten overlapping series: Manuscripts; Awards and Speeches; Clippings and Ephemera; Contracts and Companies; Correspondence; Personal; Publicity; Photographs; Journals; Newspapers.

Manuscripts: Mr. Blake’s work includes fiction and nonfiction. His themes include the state of Native Americans and the effects of settlers upon them, the 19th century American frontier, and saving wild horses from slaughter. This series contains full-length handwritten and typed novels and screenplays. The manuscripts and screenplays, listed alphabetically, include: ".357 Vigilante," "Accident," "All Shook Up," Airman Mortensen (Novel), "Airman Mortensen" (Screenplay), Behold the Beast, "A Buffalo Commons for America," "The Coup de Grace," Dances with Wolves (Novel), "Dances with Wolves" (Screenplay), Dancing the Deep Dive, "Double Down," "Drummer Boy," "East-West," Encounter with an Angry God, "Enough is Enough," "My Friend Flicka," "Greed," "The Hammer Falls," Hitchhiking, The Holy Road (Novel), "The Holy Road" (Screenplay), Indian Yell, "Interviews," Into the Stars, "King Solomon’s Mines," "Koda Pen," "Laughing Horse," "Layne," Leo, "Light at the Pole," Like a Running Dog, Marching to Valhalla (Novel), "Marching to Valhalla" (Screenplay), "Meet the Enemy," "Mexico," "The Mick," Miscellaneous Creative Writing, "Mossman," "My New Mexico," "The Never Ending," "Notes from the Bunkhouse," Old Pieces, Oscar, "The One," "Pauline," "Poodle Springs," "Radio Stories," "Revenge," "Rider in the Sky," "Ripley at the Bridge," "Roving Boy," Saliva, "Sally," "Secret Treaty," Seven Movies Notebook, "Sherlock Holmes," "Slade" (Screenplay), Slade (Novel), "State of Wrath," "Steve Young," "Stories from Los Angeles," "Twelve the King," "The Unwanted," "Victory," "Vigilance," "Weed Path," "The Wheel of War," "Winding Stair."

Awards and Speeches: This series documents awards won and speeches given by Michael Blake. His awards include an Academy Award for "Dances with Wolves" and a Writers Guild of America award. Blake’s speeches include his Oscar acceptance speech, and a speech at the American Library Association of San Luis Obispo.

Clippings and Ephemera: This series contains a variety of materials on themes of interest to Michael Blake, including wolf and horse conservation documents, and Humane Society materials, miscellaneous clippings and cartoons. Some cartoons are related to "Dances with Wolves." Also included are Mother Earth News, postcards and brochures, ticket stubs and band fliers.

Contracts and Companies: Included are contracts and other legal material pertaining to "Dances with Wolves" and "Hearts on Fire," as well as royalty statements.

Correspondence: Personal and professional correspondence from the 1960s to 2010 are contained in this series. Highlights include letters to and from his mother Sally, his brother David, Viggo Mortensen, fan letters, and Blake family ancestor research.

Personal: This small series includes materials related to Blake’s children, report cards from childhood, and his mother Sally’s will and declaration. An oral history interview conducted with Michael Blake by Center for Southwest Research staff on May 7, 2012 is also included.

Publicity: This series includes publicity materials for Mr. Blake’s fiction and nonfiction works including "Airman Mortensen," "Dances with Wolves," "The Holy Road," "Indian Yell," "Marching to Valhalla," and Winding Stair." Poetry, posters, materials from talks, and from the Kevin Costner Fan Club are found in this series.

Photographs: Photographs date from 1949-2000. They are of family, friends, book tours, and the production of "Indian Yell." Some photographs are in albums, and others are loose in mylar sleeves.

Personal Journals: The earliest dated journal is labeled September 1, 1971. Most journals, however, are undated. Journals reveal Blake’s personal thoughts on his life and his thoughts on the world. Highlights include journal entries about the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centers.

Publications: This series contains many complete newspapers with articles either written by Mr. Blake or about him. Dates range from 1966-2009. The newspapers include The Strategian, The Chase, New Mexico Lobo, The Los Angeles Free Press, The Staff, The New Mexico Independent, The City of San Francisco, The Bisbee Observer, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Weekly, and the Tucson Citizen. Audiocassettes of Dances with Wolves and Airman Mortensen are housed in this series. Three magazines are included as well: At Random, Option, and Men’s Vogue.


  • 1949-2010
  • Majority of material found within 1960-2010

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.

Biography / History

Michael Blake, circa 2008 (Box 19, Folder 34)

Michael Blake was born on July 5, 1945, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Blake’s journalism career began while he was in the Air Force, where he was the assistant editor of the base newspaper, The Strategian. After studying journalism at the University of New Mexico and attending film school in Berkeley, California, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a journalist and writer.

Blake’s work reflects his interests in the American West and the late 19th century western frontier. His novels and screenplays are often concerned with the state of Native Americans and the effects of settlers upon them. This interest led to Blake’s most well-known work, Dances with Wolves, which was recognized with seven academy awards, the Golden Globe, the Silver Spur, and the WGA award.

His awards also include the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for work with minorities and the environment, and the U.S. Air Force’s Americanism Award. For his dedication to the protection of wild horses and wolves, he was named the Animal Protection Institute’s Humanitarian of the Year.

Blake’s screenplays include: Stacey’s Knights (1983); Dances with Wolves (1990); and Winding Stair (1998), which he also directed. His novels include Dances with Wolves (1988); Airman Mortensen (1991); Marching to Valhalla (1996); The Holy Road (2001); Into the Stars (2011). His non-fiction includes his autobiography, Like a Running Dog (2002); Indian Yell (2006); and Twelve the King (2009).

Michael Blake died of heart failure on May 2, 2015 in Tucson, AZ.


25 boxes (24.5 cu. ft.) plus 1 oversize folder and 1 oversized framed photo


This collection primarily contains writings, research, and correspondence, spanning Michael Blake’s forty year career as a professional writer.


10 series
  1. Manuscripts
  2. Awards and Speeches
  3. Clippings and Ephemera
  4. Contracts and Companies
  5. Correspondence
  6. Personal
  7. Publicity
  8. Photographs
  9. Personal Journals
  10. Publications

Separated Material

Publications have been catalogued for CSWR general collection. Archival cds/dvd are stored in B3.
Finding Aid of the Michael Blake papers, 1949-2010
Edited Full Draft
C, McSherry, A. Nuñez
© 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding provided by: University of New Mexico Center for Regional Studies.

Revision Statements

  • 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