University of Texas Acquires 40 Years of Mamet Papers

News   University of Texas Acquires 40 Years of Mamet Papers
The University of Texas at Austin's Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center has acquired 40 years worth of manuscripts, letters, files and journals from the playwright David Mamet.

"I don't know how students and scholars will make use of my archive in later years, but it's all there," Mamet said in a statement.

Mamet sold the papers to the university in return for an undisclosed sum. The playwright will also be interacting with students and faculty at the university in a series of short residencies for four years.

More than 100 boxes of material cover Mamet's entire career and contain multiple drafts of all of Mamet's published works, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross and such screenplays as "The Untouchables," "The Spanish Prisoner" and "Wag the Dog." The materials include several unpublished or abandoned works as well, in addition to office files, which give a behind-the-scenes look at the production of his plays and films. Also included are 175 journals — most ranging from 150 to 200 pages each — which record Mamet's daily reflections, ideas and experimental writings from 1966 to 2001.

Mamet said in a statement, "I started keeping a journal over forty years ago, and, so, established the habit of writing longhand. Virtually everything I've written since: plays, screenplays, non-fiction, and novels, existed, first in hardbound, lined notebooks full of black or blue ink. Subsequent drafts of my work, for forty years, were (and are) typed either on an old manual, or on an IBM Selectric typewriter." The papers include extensive correspondence from Mamet's frequent collaborators Joe Mantegna and Ricky Jay, as well as numerous letters from Gregory Mosher, Patti LuPone, Steve Martin, Jude Law, Harold Pinter and Mike Nichols.

Mamet had been gathering his material in a storage facility in Cambridge, MA, before deciding to donate them. The university's president, William Powers Jr., said in a statement, "I am personally pleased that his work is coming to the Ransom Center, because I have regularly had my freshman seminar students study 'The Spanish Prisoner.'"

Thomas F. Staley, director of the Harry Ransom Center, said in a statement, "Mamet was a man aware of his times, and the journals reflect not only the evolution of American theater and culture but also the impulses that prompted them."

The Ransom Center also houses the papers of playwrights Tennessee Williams, Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman, Adrienne Kennedy, Lee Blessing, Terrence McNally, John Osborne, Tom Stoppard, David Hare, Arnold Wesker and James Saunders.

Select materials from the Mamet papers will be displayed on the first floor of the Center from April 18 through May 6.

A link to more information and Mamet's full statement is available at the Ransom Center's website at

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