Southern Methodist University

Lewis MacAdams papers

A Guide


Creator: MacAdams, Lewis, 1944-
Title: Lewis MacAdams papers
Dates: 1950s-1983
Abstract: Lewis MacAdams is a Texas-born modern poet and journalist who grew up in the Dallas area. He later moved to California, where he is known for his political and environmental activism. This collection covers the first thirty-nine years of his life. Included are correspondence, scrapbooks, interviews, his editorial files for the magazine Wet, and poetry and manuscripts from the 1970s-early 1980s.
Accession No: Mss 57
Extent: 12 boxes (12 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Lewis Perry MacAdams, Jr. was born in San Angelo, Texas on October 12, 1944. He attended St Mark's School in Dallas and graduated from Princeton University in 1966. In 1968 he received a Master's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Although a modern poet, he has worked in a variety of positions, most notably as a railroad switchman and a director of a public utility district. He was director of the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University (from 1975 to 1978), has co-produced a television special "California One," and edited Wet Magazine.

Most, but not all, of his writing is poetry. His published collections include Water Charms (1968), The Poetry Room (1971), News from Niman Farm (1976), Blind Date (1981), Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe (1982), and Dear Oxygen (2011). In 2001 he published Birth of The Cool, a cultural history of the idea of cool. Examples of his other work include individual poems, creative prose, interviews, ghostwritten books, articles, screenplays, and a phonograph record, words and vocals by MacAdams, entitled "Beirut." In addition, he has contributed to Rolling Stone, L.A. Times, and Los Angeles Magazine. MacAdams produced and directed the 1986 documentary “What Happened to Kerouac?”

MacAdams was married twice and is the father of four children. He lives in California.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection provides a look at the first thirty-nine years of an American poet, journalist and political activist living in Texas and California. MacAdams was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war, and series 2 contains his letter stating his position, letters of support, legal correspondence, and information on the compulsory work program for conscientious objectors. Researchers should also note that MacAdams was an editor for the short-lived but influential magazine Wet, and materials from 1979-1981 can be found at the end of series 5. The bulk of this collection contains poetry and manuscripts, however, his personal and business affairs are also represented.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 8 series:
Series 1: Correspondence, 1963-1983
Series 2: Personal papers, 1950s-1982
Series 3: Family papers, 1960-1977
Series 4: Poetry and prose, 1964-1982
Series 5: Journalism, 1956-1983
Series 6: Other interests, 1971-1982
Series 7: Public relations, 1965-1983
Series 8: Other writers, 1966-1983


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
MacAdams, Lewis, 1944-
Authors, American -- 20th century.
Poets, American -- 20th century.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Conscientious objectors -- United States.
Letters -- 20th century.
Manuscripts for publication.
Scrapbooks – 20th century.
Sound recordings

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Lewis MacAdams papers, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

The papers of the Lewis MacAdams collection were acquired in two installments. The first segment arrived in February 1974, the second in September 1983. Included in these papers were several published works. Those publications containing MacAdams' manuscript notes have been retained in the manuscript collection, while the rest were cataloged and shelved in DeGolyer Library.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 1987 by DeGolyer Library staff.

In 2012, the two frames were removed from childhood photographs in box 3 and the contents of box 3 were transferred to an oversize box 3X. Series four and five were originally one large series entitled “literary productions.” The archivist divided the original sections of poetry and prose, and journalism to form two separate series.

Finding aid written by

Jeanette Clough and Jane Elder, 1987. Revised by Cynthia Franco, 2012.

Finding aid encoded by

Cynthia Franco, 2012.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1963-1983
2 boxes

Lewis MacAdams’ personal correspondence is arranged in chronological order.
Box Folder
1 1-12 General correspondence, 1963-1974
13 Correspondence with Barbara Dilley, 1974
14-18 General correspondence, 1975-1976
Box Folder
2 1-4 General correspondence, 1976-1977
5 Poetry in Public Places, 1977 – this correspondence deals with a writing project to place poetry on buses, billboards and other public places
6-8 General correspondence, 1978-1979
9 Poetry readings in Europe - correspondence
10-12 General correspondence, 1980-1982
13 Allen Ginsberg correspondence, 1982
14 General correspondence, 1983
15-18 Undated correspondence
19 Greeting cards

Series 2: Personal papers, 1950s-1982
3 boxes

This series includes high school and college yearbooks and scrapbooks, MacAdams’ documentation as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, a Southern Pacific Railroad rule book, and resumes.
Box Folder
2 Yearbooks and Scrapbooks
20 St. Mark's School of Texas newsletters and bulletins
21 St. Mark's Yearbook, 1958
Box Folder
3X 1 The Re Marker [St. Mark's School of Texas publication], 1961-1962
2 Scrapbook, St. Mark's
3 Scrapbook - early years, St. Mark's, Princeton
Box Folder
4 1-3 St. Mark's yearbooks, 1959-1961
4 Princeton memorabilia
5-7 Princeton yearbooks, 1963-1965
8 Princeton Colonial Club
Box Folder
3X 4 Childhood photographs
Box Folder
4 Personal documents
9 Personal documents, 1970-1982 - biographical information, resumes, Harper and Row contract, unemployment, voter registration
10 Letters regarding draft status [as a conscientious objector], 1967-1968 – includes information on the compulsory work program for conscientious objectors
11 Southern Pacific Railroad Rules and Regulations volume listing Lewis MacAdams as a switchman
12 Business cards
13 Addresses and phone numbers

Series 3: Family papers, 1960-1977
8 folders

These family papers include correspondence from MacAdams’ first wife, Phoebe, their children’s drawings, family newspaper clippings, and photographs.
Box Folder
4 Correspondence
14 Phoebe MacAdams [first wife], 1965-1977
15 Willie Blaze MacAdams [son] – childhood drawings, notes
16 Ocean Lee MacAdams [son] – typed poem, and childhood drawing
17 Rhea MacAdams [grandmother], 1971-1976
18 Photocopies of MacAdams family clippings, 1967-1977
19-21 Family and other people, 1960-1970s

Series 4: Poetry and prose, 1964-1982
5 boxes

Much of the material in this series regards his published poetry collections Water Charms (1968), The Poetry Room (1971), News from Niman Farm (1976), Blind Date (1981), Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe (1982). Works ghostwritten by MacAdams are included, as well as publications in which his work appeared.
Box Folder
5 Poetry
1 White Notebook - Three poems, one from News from Niman Farm, and other material, 1976-1977
2 Black Notebook, 1976 - Holograph drafts of poems which were published in Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe ephemera, annotated manuscripts, and a list of corrections for the printer of Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe
3-7 Notebooks, 1970s
8 Drafts, typed and manuscript, of Water Charms. Remnants from The Poetry Room
9-10 The Poetry Room, typed draft
11 Tilth, pamphlet and typed draft, 1972
12-14 News from Niman Farm, typed drafts
15 "The Owlization," typed manuscript of long poem
16 "In Now We Must All," typed draft
17 “Up the Creek,” typed draft, 1973
18 “Pieces of the Indies,” typed draft
19 "The Song of Jack Eagle Slave," long unpublished work by MacAdams and Tom Veitch, 1969
20 “Phoebe,” typed photocopy
Box Folder
6 1 Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe
2-64 Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe - manuscripts of individual poems
65 Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe - credits
66 Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe - typescripts
67 Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe - paste-up sheets
68-69 Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe - galleys
70 Miscellaneous manuscripts, probably for Africa and the Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe - paste-up sheets
71 "Expeditions" by Lewis & Clark [written by Lewis MacAdams and Tom Clark]
72 "Collaborations," unpublished poems by MacAdams and possibly others
73 "Live at the Church"
74 "Lone Star," unpublished long poem
Box Folder
7 1 Typed and manuscript poems from early Princeton University period
2-6 Poetry - manuscripts, 1964
7-13 Poetry – manuscripts, undated
14 Poetry rewritten by Ted Berrigan, 1972
15 Typescript of poetry book, untitled
16 Poems, most unpublished, early 1970s
17 Poems, most unpublished, late 1960s and early 1970s
Box Folder
8 1 Prose and poetry fragments
2 Mostly poems, most unpublished, late 1970s
3 Mostly poems, most unpublished, middle 1970s
4-10 Poems published in periodicals
Creative Prose
11 "Texas Years," story written with Tom Clark, 1972
12 "The Last Days of Hank Williams"
13-15 “Get the Money,” unpublished novel
16 Untitled play written while at Princeton [removed from Box 7, folder 1]
17 “The Town that Fought to Save Itself : a Teleplay”
18-20 “I Am The Children Signing Off”, unpublished novel
21 Blind Date, 1981
22 “It’s a Party” manuscript
23-24 Miscellaneous prose
25 “Cancer,” a play [Authorship uncertain]
Box Folder
11 7 “I'm a Fool” by Sherwood Anderson, screenplay by Lewis MacAdams, 1976
Box Folder
9 8 “Journey of the Heart,” a Galactic Production, by Faren Dancer
Box Folder
10 26 “Biography of Jayme Odgen,” artist, ghostwritten in the first person, 1982
Box Folder
11 6 Phonograph record (45 rpm), "Beirut." Lyrics and vocals by Lewis MacAdams, 1982
Box Folder
12 Published Works with Manuscript Notes
33 Milk Quarterly, 8, The Yellow Press, 1975 - two poems by MacAdams, p. 29
34 The Amphora, 6, The Headstone Press, Fall, 1971
35 Renaissance, v. 1, no. 1, 1969
36 First Issue, no. 1, 1968
37 Out There, 6, Out There Press, 1974
38 Big Sky, no. 8, 1974
39 Telephone, #2
40 Turkey Buzzard Review, Turkey Buzzard Editions, 1980
41 Stone Soup, 29, Stone Soup Poetry, 1976
42 Bricoleur, 1969
43 FATHAR, 5, 1973

Series 5: Journalism, 1956-1983
3 boxes

This series mostly contains interviews, notes, drafts, and book reviews. Highlights include a folder of MacAdams’ “letters to the editor” from 1956-1977, issues of WET Magazine and his writing from 1979-1981, and his script for the 1986 documentary “What Happened to Kerouac?”
Box Folder
9 Interviews
1 Robert Creeley, draft
2 Joanne Kyger, draft
3 Simon Ortiz, draft
4 Leslie Minor, draft and two tape cassettes, 1974
5 Michael Rafferty, draft, 1976
6 "Taj Mahal," galleys
7 Typed story draft - Eldridge Cleaver
Box Folder
10 16 Hans Wesseling, cassette tape, 1978
Box Folder
9 Articles
9 "Public Broadcasting Service," notes for article, related photographs and newspaper clippings, and early draft, 1979-1980
10 "Performance Art," draft, related clippings and other materials, and notes for article, 1976
11 "Poetry and Politics," drafts and notes and letter to publisher, 1977
12 "Sex in the Cinema," drafts, notes, and movie press releases for Paul Verhouven’s film “Spetters,” 1980-1981
13 "Sex with the Dead," notes, and early draft, 1982
14 "Best Mary Jane in the World," notes and early draft, 1980
15 "Boomtown in the Metroplex: Capitalism in the 80's - The Spirit of Dallas," drafts and notes and color photo of W. A. Criswell, 1980s
16 "On the Trail of the Cattle Mutilations," drafts, notes, clippings, and a copy of Mystery Stalks the Prairie by Roberta Donovan and Keith Yolverton, 1979-1980
17 "Chicken Ranch," manuscript, documentation, notes, 1979-1980
18 "Children of Lesbians," drafts and notes, 1982
19 "Coyote Story," news clippings, draft and notes, 1982
20 Kerouac film, script and proposed budget of a biographical film of Jack Kerouac, with interviews with his contemporaries
Box Folder
10 3 Column by MacAdams, with short biography of him – [“The Lewis MacAdams Story” in Other Scenes, the International Magazine, November 1970]
4 "Television Art," LBMAVIDEO - The Long Beach Museum of Art Foundation, Video Council Newsletter, Jan.-Feb. 1983
5 "Une Orgie de 30 Tonnes," Actuel, Sept. 1981, p. 66
6 "New Mexico Prison Riot," draft and notes
7 "Overdose et Carnage a la Prison de Santa Fe," Actuel, March 1980, p. 52
8 "Panique Chez les Vaches Americaines," Actuel, February 1981, p. 45
9 "La Sherif au Bordel," Actuel, July-Aug. 1981, p. 76
10 "A Dallas, Pas Question de Mollir," Actuel, July-Aug. 1980., p. 108
11 "Kerouac is Alive!" High Performance, 1982, p. 16
12 "Thought is Made in the Mouth," High Performance, 1982, p. 16
13 "Nightclubbing with William Burroughs, John Giorno and Laurie Anderson," High Performance, Winter 1981-82, p. 38
14 "The Art of Getting Rich," California Magazine, March 1982, p. 71
15 "A Talk about Teaching Poems to Kids," The Trellis Supplement, Summer 1974, p. 77
17 "How Films Were Made," Newsletter of the Writers Guild of America, West, January 1983, p. 23
"Robert Mitchum: "Lemme Tell You How Films Are Made"" L.A. Weekly, April 16-22, 1982, p. 10
18 "Catching Up with Allen Ginsberg," L.A. Weekly, March 12-18, 1982, p. 8
19 "Catching Up with Ed Ruscha," L.A. Weekly, Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 1982, p. 26
20 "Kramer vs. Kramer with a Twist," L.A. Weekly, Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 1982, p. 11
21 21 Notes for article on Frank Moore, a performance artist with multiple sclerosis
22 Notes for article on R. D. Laing, psychiatrist and author of several works, including The Divided Self
23 Notes and draft of "Lion Gate Films: Hollywood after Zoetrope," piece on the creation of a new (1982) studio
24 Introduction to The Japanese and Indian Journals by Joanne Kyger
25 "Mobile Apartment Homes," draft and notes, 1982
27 Article about Ken Kesey, draft and notes
28 Grateful Dead book project, 1982
29 Letters to the editor written by MacAdams, 1956-1977
30 Miscellaneous short articles by MacAdams, 1966-1979
31 Miscellaneous incomplete drafts for articles, published and unpublished
32 Drafts for magazine articles
Book Reviews
1 Review by MacAdams for Anne Waldman's Fast-Speaking Woman, printed in The Colorado Daily, April 14, 1976
2 Fragments of reviews by MacAdams: Fast-Speaking Woman by Anne Waldman and Elsa Dorfman's Housebook: a Woman's Photojournal
Box Folder
11 Editorship Projects
1 Where the Girls Are, A Social Guide to Women's Colleges in the East, published by The Daily Princetonian, 1965
2 Response, What's Happening: the Arts 1966. Princeton University publication/program for April 22-23, 1966 event of the same name
3 Wet Magazine, promotional materials
4 Wet Magazine, issues 20 and 23-28, 1979-1980
5 Wet Magazine, issues 29-34, 1981

Series 6: Other interests, 1971-1982
17 folders

Included in this series are subject files containing miscellaneous information pertaining to a variety of interests, including the Poetry Center, the community of Bolinas, California, Jerry Brown’s 1978 California gubernatorial campaign material, and environmental projects.
Box Folder
11 8 Miscellaneous material relating to film, press releases, articles, etc., 1978-1980
9 His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa - programs, itineraries, and press releases on the Buddhist leader's visit to Los Angeles, 1980
10 Video West, San Francisco-based alternative TV show: articles, promotional material, etc., 1980
11 The Poetry Center, San Francisco, articles, newsletters, reviews, promotional material, and various Center business papers, 1976-1977
12 Poetry Flash [newsletter], 1975-1978
13 MacAdams in West Virginia: Poetry in the Schools Program, 1972-1983
14 Artists in Education - workshop by MacAdams, 1977
15-18 Bolinas, California (MacAdams' community in Marin County) - newsletters, articles, and other printed material, 1971-1978
19 Governor Jerry Brown, campaign material, 1977-1978
20 Miscellaneous political activities
21 Material dealing with California-Mexico relations, 1979-1982
22 Photocopies of articles on environmental issues, 1978-1979
23 Wind farms, analysis of the promise of wind power
24 Cotati Housing Project design, 1981

Series 7: Public relations, 1965-1983
14 folders

These flyers, programs, reviews, interviews, and promotional materials about Lewis MacAdams and other events date from the 1960s-1983.
Box Folder
11 25-26 Flyers advertising poetry readings
27 Programs in which MacAdams participated
28 Reviews of MacAdams' poetry and readings, 1968-1980
29 Press releases and promotional material covering MacAdams, 1966-1983
30 Taped interviews with MacAdams, Munich, 1979
31 Typescript of an interview with MacAdams, 1967
Box Folder
12 1 Articles and clippings about MacAdams, 1968-1982
2 Announcements in printed sources of readings by MacAdams, 1976-1983
3 Miscellaneous press catalogs
4 Invitations and announcements addressed to MacAdams, 1974-1982
5 Posters for MacAdams' readings.
6 Flyers and brochures for literary and artistic events in which MacAdams was not a participant, 1965-1979
7 Ephemera – includes itinerary booklet of Boz Scaggs summer 1978 tour

Series 8: Other writers, 1966-1983
25 folders

This series includes the poetry, prose, and some correspondence by other writers, generally written for Lewis MacAdams. Works co-written with Tom Clark also appear in series 4.
Box Folder
12 8 Poetry written for MacAdams, signed
9 Poetry written for MacAdams, author unknown
10 Poetry by other writers, signed
11 Manuscript, authorship unknown, mostly poetry
12 Bartek, Maggie Coopersmith - one page of poetry, 1982
13 Berrigan, Ted - poetry and miscellaneous
14 Brown, Rebecca - poetry and correspondence, 1981
15 Burnham, Linda Frye - Bob and Bob, typescript prose, 1980
16 Butterick, George - Reading Genesis by the Light of a Comet, typescript poetry, 1976
17 Clark, Michael - poetry and correspondence, 1981
18 Clark, Tom - poetry
19 Collom, Jack - poetry and correspondence, 1974-1977
20 Corso, Gregory - poetry
21 Liebling, Laura - poetry and correspondence, 1980
22 MacAdams, Phoebe Russell - poetry, 1980
23 Machmiller, Patricia - poem, 1983
24 Malanga, Gerard - poetry, miscellaneous correspondence, and ephemera, 1966-1969
25 Raines - "Taxes," 1971
26 Ritz, Robert - poetry
27 Rockfer, Stephen - poetry
28 Schuchat, Simon - poetry
29 Schwartz, Naomi Kittay - poetry and correspondence, 1983
30 Skelley, Jack - poetry
31 Smith, B. T. - poetry
32 Talen, William - poetry