Austin History Center Transfers Bud Shrake Papers to Southwestern Writers Collection

Date of release: 11/04/03

TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY-SAN MARCOS — At the request of Texas writer Bud Shrake, the Austin History Center (AHC) recently transferred their portion of his archives to the Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State’s Alkek Library.

Originally placed at the AHC by Shrake in June 1978, the eight boxes (4.4 linear feet) containing over 1300 items (46 of which are noted as “contents of wallet”) now complete his archives at the Southwestern Writers Collection, adding to their over 25 boxes which comprise almost 13 linear feet.

The AHC carefully processed this portion of Shrake’s collection, and according to their detailed scope-and-content notes the bulk of the material is literary production, most being Shrake’s own works. Many of the short stories and plays are unpublished. Shrake’s tenure at the Dallas Morning News is well represented, including a near-complete run of his column.
The second largest section is correspondence, consisting primarily of letters received. Because so many of Shrake’s business associates were also friends, business and personal letters are intermixed and the two categories are virtually indistinguishable. The records of Mad Dog Inc., a company formed by Shake and Gary Cartwright, exemplify this. The company motto is “doing indefinable services for mankind,” and the only documented service was giving $1,000 to Armadillo World Headquarters in 1970 to help them financially.

Already processed and preserved at the Southwestern Writers Collection are Shrake’s book manuscript drafts, galley proofs, magazines, clippings, tear sheets, letters, photographs, slides, audiotapes, and a typewriter--materials spanning the years from 1936 to 1993, most dating from 1960 to the present. The AHC boxes add more literary productions, correspondence, clippings, photographs, financial papers and diaries documenting Edwin “Bud” Shrake’s life from 1942-1975.

Sue Soy, Manager of the Austin History Center, stated that this transfer of papers is an exception rather than the rule. In this one case, the archival papers were moved in order to honor Mr. Shrake’s wishes to have his entire collection housed in one location. The decision to make the transfer also considered the convenience to researchers in being able to find and use the Shrake papers in one place--at the Southwestern Writers Collection, a reputable repository for southwestern literary archives.

“On behalf of the Southwestern Writers Collection,” said its curator, Connie Todd, “I’d like to thank the Austin History Center for being responsive to a donor’s wishes, for being aware of the needs of researchers, and for being such excellent stewards of the Shrake papers. This is a wonderful example of generosity and cooperation between institutions for the benefit of future patrons.”

Edwin A. (Bud) Shrake, Jr., journalist, sportswriter, novelist, biographer and screenwriter, was born in Fort Worth, Texas on September 6, 1931. He began his career in 1951 with the Fort Worth Press Sports Department. In 1958, Shrake moved to the Dallas Times Herald as a sportswriter. The rival Dallas Morning News hired him away in 1961 to write a daily sports column. In 1964, Shrake moved to New York, this time as a writer for Sports Illustrated.

Shrake returned to Texas in 1968, making Austin his home. He continued his association with Sports Illustrated until 1979 while also writing novels and screenplays. In addition, he wrote an occasional article for other magazines, notably “The Land of the Permanent Wave,” published in the February 1970 edition of Harper’s.

To date, Shrake has published seven novels, all but one set in his home state. A. C. Greene listed Blessed McGill in 1981 as one of Texas’ fifty best books and in so doing, fairly described much of Shrake’s writing in general--it shows “an appreciation for the absurdities of existence, a recognition of irony’s major role in the world, [and] highly suggestive humor” (TEXAS MONTHLY, August 1981).

In the late 1980s, Shrake turned to writing celebrity as-told-to autobiographies, beginning with his friend, musician Willie Nelson. He followed Willie: An Autobiography with Bootlegger’s Boy, the story of the controversial former University of Oklahoma coach, Barry Switzer, and Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, tips and tales from the accomplished golfer. All three of these works made the bestseller’s list, the Penick book becoming the best-selling sports book in American publishing history.

Shrake’s versatility as a writer extends to screenwriting. Productions on which Shrake is credited include: “J. W. Coop” (1972), with Cliff Robertson playing a rodeo star adjusting to a changing west; “Kid Blue” (1973), a comic western starring Dennis Hopper; “Tom Horn” (1980), with Steve McQueen as the legendary shootist; and “Songwriter” (1984), a film about the country music business directed by Alan Rudolph and starring Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.

Bud Shrake continues to live and work in Austin, Texas. Discover more about the Shrake archives and the Southwestern Writers Collection online:

THE SOUTHWESTERN WRITERS COLLECTION, in the Albert B. Alkek Library at Texas State University-San Marcos, was founded in 1986 and has since become a distinguished and steadily growing archive charged with preserving, exhibiting, and providing access to the papers and artifacts of principal writers, filmmakers, songwriters and musicians of the Southwest. Its resources attest to the tremendous diversity of creative expression among southwestern artists and contribute to a rich research environment within which students and others may discover how the unique conditions and character of the region have shaped its people and their cultural arts. Curator, Connie Todd. Assistant Curator, Steve Davis. 

WHERE: The Southwestern Writers Collection is housed in the Special Collections Department on the 7th floor of the Alkek Library at Texas State University-San Marcos, halfway between Austin and San Antonio.

CURRENT EXHIBIT: “Scene of the Crime: Mystery/Detective Fiction from Texas.”

HOURS: Please call ahead to verify hours (closed breaks and holidays):
Mon–Fri: 8 am–5 pm (Tues until 9 pm); Sat: 9 am–5 pm; Sun: 2 pm–6 pm.
Archives available M–F; weekends by appointment.

DIRECTIONS & FURTHER INFO: Call (512) 245-2313, or visit online:

CONTACTS: Connie Todd, Curator, (512) 245-8361 / Steve Davis, Assistant Curator (512) 245-9180 / Michele Miller, Marketing & Media Relations (512) 245-2313.