University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Guide to the Helen Moore Barthelme Papers

Overview of the Collection

Creator Barthelme, Helen Moore, 1927-
Collection Title Helen Moore Barthelme Papers
Dates 1949-2002
Identification 2008-021
Physical Description 4.00 Linear Feet
Language of Materials English
Repository University of Houston Libraries M.D. Anderson Library 4333 University Drive Houston, TX, 77204-2000 URL: Email: Phone: 713-743-9229

Biographical Information:

Helen Barthelme was born December 18, 1927. She graduated as an honors student from Corpus Christi High School at the age of 15. After her parents separated, she moved to Houston with her mother and two sisters. About a year later, around the age of 17, she enrolled at the University of Houston, where she would later meet Donald Barthelme Jr., who would later become a famous author. She became editor of the school newspaper 'The Cougar.' After graduating with her bachelor's degree, she continued to work in the university's public relations department. She briefly left the university to start a corporate career, but returned as director of the Information Office in 1951.

In 1951, she married her first husband Pete Gilpin. The marriage dissolved in 1956, and she married Donald Barthelme shortly thereafter. She left her professional endeavors for a short time in order to become a housewife, but she disliked the role. She soon re-enrolled in philosophy and art classes at the University of Houston. In 1957, she became an account executive for an ad agency, and was invited to teach classes in journalism and literature at a four-year woman's university in Houston called Dominican College.

In 1959, Helen Barthelme started her own ad agency, and continued to teach at Dominican College. She and Donald Barthelme were divorced in 1965. She continued her education, getting her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1972, she accepted an appointment with the Department of English at the University of Houston. She went on to become a professor of English at Texas A&M university in College Station. Helen Barthelme had a long and distinguished career as an ad executive and professor. She died of cancer on Jun 28, 2002.


Barthelme, H. M. (2001). Donald Barthelme: The Genesis of a Cool Sound (Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities, 13) (1st ed ed.). College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2010. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2010.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, short stories, and articles related to or written by Donald Barthelme and his brothers, Rick, Steve, and Peter Barthelme, as well as notes by Helen Barthelme.  This collection contains research that Helen Barthelme gathered in order to write a biography on Donald Barthelme Jr., Donald Barthelme:  The Genesis of a Cool Sound.  This collection encompasses his early life and career both as a writer and as director of the Contemporary Arts Association, up until his death in 1989.


Conditions Governing Access:

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Corporate Name:
University of Houston -- Alumni and alumnae
University of Houston -- Faculty
Genre/Form of Material:
Clippings (information artifacts)
Personal Name:
Barthelme, Donald
Barthelme, Helen Moore, 1927-
Forum (Houston, Tex.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

Helen Moore Barthelme Collection, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

Detailed List of Contents

Early Life and Career 1949-1989, undated

Box Folder
1 1 High school graduation program, award 1949
2 Articles published, copies 1949-1961, undated
3 Harvest 1952-1968
4 "Then" story undated
5 Miscelleneous architectural speech, Rice University lectures, etc. (Donald Barthelme Sr.) 1960, undated
6 Natanson class notes, Spring 1957 1957
7 Class notes, Spring 1957 1957
8 Natanson lecture notes 1957, undated
9 Lecture notes undated
10 Requisitions to University of Houston 1955-1960
11 Miscelleneous bills, statements, etc. 1957-1960
12 Cards, documents 1952-1960, undated
13 ACPRA meeting 1962
Arts Career 1960-1978, undated
This series includes copies of typescript program proposals for the Contemporary Arts Association (CAA) and the Contemporary Arts Museum, CAA publications, copies of newspaper articles about CAA, and other miscellaneous materials.
Box Folder
1 14 CAA, other materials 1960-1978
15 CAA clippings 1960-1962
Contains microfiche copies of newspaper articles about CAA during Donald Barthelme's tenureas member of the board and director.
16 CAA newspaper articles 1961-1962, undated
Correspondence 1953-1989
This series includes original, and copies of typescript letters written by Donald Barthelme to his family during his army service in Korea, to Helen Barthelme during and after their marriage, and to friends and family. The series also includes letters to Donald Barthelme from friends, postcards, telegrams, and other miscellaneous items. Some letters included are outside the chronological scope of the early years of Donald Barthelme's life.
Box Folder
1 17 Korea 1954, undated
18 Letters to parents, NY, Europe 1962-1989
19 Letters to Helen Barthelme 1963-1967, undated
20 Miscelleneous correspondence, friends 1950-1960, undated
21 Gollub, Henry 1958-1959, undated
22 Maranto, Joe 1953-1965, undated
Photographs 1950-1960
This series contains photographs from Donald Barthelme's time in Korea, his selective service cards and honorable discharge certificate from the US Army, and family photographs, slides, negatives, and proofs.
Family 1950's-1960's, undated
Box Folder
1 23 Barthelme brothers 1952, undated
24 Barthelme family undated
25 Beach photos with Jack and Ann Boynton 1959
26 Donald Barthelme undated
27 Donald Barthelme and Helen Barthelme undated
28 Donald Barthelme, Anne, and Birgit undated
29 Helen Barthelme undated
30 Houston Chronicle photo undated
31 Miscellaneous family photos undated
32 Negatives 1952, undated
33 Proofs undated
34 Slides, Christmas 1952-1961
Korea 1953-1961
Box Folder
1 35 Base camp undated
36 Christmas undated
37 City pictures undated
38 Honorable Discharge 1961
39 Individual, enlisted men undated
40 Landscapes undated
41 Military vehicles undated
42 People of Korea undated
43 Proofs, base and enlisted men undated
44 Proofs, people & city undated
45 Selective service registration cards 1949, 1955, 1958
46 Theater undated
47 Training soldiers undated
48 Unknown ship undated
49 Volleyball game undated
50 Weapons training 1954
51 Winter undated

Forum Magazine Editorial Career 1956-1993, undated

Forum Correspondence 1956-1993
This series includes correspondence between Donald Barthelme and contributors to the Forum during 1956-1960, arranged alphabetically by contributor name. Included are letters from such noted contributors as Robert Bly, Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin, Norman Mailer, and Harold Rosenberg. Some folders also include additional materials related to Forum contributors such as reprints of articles, photocopied bibliographies of works, photocopies of obituaries, and annotated lists of correspondence. Also included is correspondence related to a propsed meeting of editors of similar journals and miscellaneous administrative materials.
Box Folder
2 1 Annotated list of letters to Donald Barthelme 1956-1960, undated
2 Aldridge, John 1958
3 Barth, John undated
4 Blackmur, R.P. 1959
5 Bly, Robert 1959-1960
6 Borklund, Elmer W. 1958-1959
7 Brooks, Bruce 1959
8 Collins, James 1957-1960
9 Corrigan, Robert W. 1959-1960
10 Corrington, William 1959-1960
11 Coser, Lewis A. 1957
12 Cowley, Malcolm 1958
13 Dienstfrey, Harris 1959
14 Dugger, Ronnie undated
15 Ellenberger, Henri F. 1958-1960
16 Fiedler, Leslie A. 1957-1959
17 Galbraith, John Kenneth 1959
18 Gass, William H. 1959-1960
19 Gerhard, William A. 1959
20 Hayakawa, S.I. 1958
21 Howe, Irving 1957-1993
22 Jones, Jack 1959
23 Karlen, Arno 1960
24 Kazan, Elia 1958
25 Kazin, Alfred 1958-1959, undated
26 Kenner, Hugh 1959-1960
27 Kubrick, Stanley 1958
28 Lyons, Joseph 1958-1960, undated
29 MacAgy, Douglas, 1960 1960
30 Mailer, Norman 1959
31 McLuhan, Marshall 1960, undated
32 Meyerhoff, Hans 1959-1960
33 Mudrick, Marvin 1959
34 Mumford, Lewis 1960
35 Moynahan, Julian 1959
36 Natanson, Maurice 1957-1960
37 Nemerov, Howard 1960, undated
38 Peterson, Robert 1959-1960
39 Podhoretz, Norman 1958-1991
40 Riesman, David 1957-1959
41 Rosenberg, Harold 1959-1978
42 Sartre, Jean-Paul 1958
43 Schorer, Mark 1959
44 Stafford, William undated
45 Straus, Edwin W. 1958-1960
46 Tyler, Parker 1958-1960
47 Walker, Stanley 1958
48 White, E.B. 1958
49 Yates, Peter 1958-1962
50 Forum, 1956-1960, undated 1956-1960, undated
51 Correspondence from Donald Barthelme 1957-1959, undated
52 Correspondence Copies 1957-1960
53 University of Houston Forum proposed meeting of editors: Correspondence from Donald Barthelme and editors 1959, undated
54 Correspondence with publishers Re stories, articles, payments for services, other correspondence 1960-1961
55 University of Houston correspondence: Nicholson, etc. Report on FORUM resignation, editorial board 1959-1960
Forum Magazine and Miscellaneous Manuscript Materials 1954-1960, undated
This series includes original and copies of Forum magazines and other miscellaneous materials.
Box Folder
2 56 University of Houston Forum miscelleneous manuscript materials 1954-1960, undated
57 Forum September, 1956
58 Forum January 1957
59 Forum April 1957
60 Forum Summer 1957
61 Forum Fall 1957
62 Forum May 1958
63 Forum Fall 1958
64 Forum Spring 1959
65 Forum Summer 1959
66 Forum Fall 1959
67 Forum Summer 1960
68 Forum Fall, Winter 1965
69 Reprints of Forum articles 1959, undated

Writing 1961-1990

This series contains several photocopies and originals of the published versions of early short stories by Donald Barthelme, an original typescript of his essay "Not-Knowing," and miscellaneous materials related to Barthelme's writing work. It also includes a listing of the published versions of short stories, which were cataloged and removed from the collection.
Box Folder
3 1 "The Darling Duckling at School," Contact, photocopy 1961
2 "The Hiding Man," First Person 1961
3 "Three", photocopy 1972
4 "Not Knowing," typescript and copy, Georgia Review original lecture article. 1982
5 "The Good People at Sam's Bar" 1987
6 "The King", uncorrected proof title page, photocopy, description 1990
7 New York Writer's Conference 1961
8 Agents 1966-1989
9 Short stories records list 1967-1982

Reviews/Biographical Articles 1964-2000, undated

This series contains copies of newspaper and magazine articles about Barthelme and his work, interviews, reviews of works, and miscellaneous critical materials. Also included are programs for book readings of Barthelme's works and receptions honoring Barthelme, as well as the announcement of the Barthelme Memorial Fellowship award.
Box Folder
3 10 Miscelleneous, event programs and announcements 1973-1992
11 Miscelleneous critical materials 1964-1968
12 Reviews/biographical articles, clippings from magazines 1964-1976
13 Interviews 1973-1992
14 Biographies (essay on Don), Phillip Lopate 1996
15 Miscelleneous notes (reviewer) 2000, undated
16 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1963-1965
17 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1967
18 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1972
19 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1973-1974
20 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1975
21 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1976
22 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1977-1979
23 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1980-1981
24 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1982
25 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1983
26 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1984
27 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1985
28 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1986
29 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1989
30 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews: obituaries July 1989
31 Clippings, copies of newspaper and magazine articles, and reviews 1990-1997

Fredrick, Peter, and Steven Barthelme 1967-1998

This series includes copies of newspaper articles on the Barthelme brothers, reviews of their works, and essays published by Steven Barthelme. The series also contains copies of 'The Texas Observer' during Steven Barthelme's tenure as review editor and contributor.
Box Folder
3 32 Fredrick Barthelme 1967-1993, undated
33 Peter Barthelme 1973-1996
34 Steve Barthelme, includes the typescript of the essay "Proust at Lunch" 1988-1992, undated
35 Steven Barthelme, copies of "The Texas Observer" 1971-1974
36 Steve and Rick Barthelme, article on violation of gambling laws 1998

Helen Barthelme 1956-2001, undated

Book Research for Donald Barthelme: The Genesis of a Cool Sound 1956-2001, undated
This series includes notes for Helen Barthelme's book, analysis of Donald Barthelme's works, interviews with friends of Donald Barthelme, biographies and bibliographies of contributors to Forum, newspaper and magazine articles about Donald Barthelme, and other miscellaneous materials.
Box Folder
4 1 Army, Korean War notes undated
2 Copies of family letters, with chapters noted 1962-1992, undated
3 Biographical 1952-1990
4 Reviews, stories, miscelleneous 1967-1988, undated
5 Pete Barthelme interview, miscellaneous 1997
6 Interviews, Geo., Mary Christian, Joe Maranto, Pat Goeters 1990-1993, undated
7 Pat Goeters 1993
8 Henry Gollob 1989-1992
9 Joe Maranto 1993, undated
10 Walker Percy 1991, undated
11 New York Times Book Reviews, microfiche copies 1956-1962
12 List of Works by Authors of Letters undated
13 Biographies, miscelleneous 1989-1998, undated
14 Notes for Book undated
15 Review of "Donald Barthelme: The Genesis of a Cool Sound" 2001
16 University of Houston Materials Research/Reference 1957-1959, undated
Personal writing 1968-1997
This series includes manuscripts, notes, and diaries by Helen Barthelme, drafts of fictional works, poems, and essays, including Dr. Barthelme's classwork.
Box Folder
4 17 Diary Notes 1969-1970,
18 Diary notes, Donald Barthelme death 1989
19 Jewel Beulah Moore manuscript notes Undated
20 Helen Barthelme Beeville, other manuscript miscellaneous notes, etc. 1985-1986
21 Manuscripts 1968-1984, undated
22 "Snow White" 1967-1990
23 "Snow White," notes undated
24 "Margins" undated
25 Ricoeur, Paul 1988, undated
26 Notes: other reference materials Sam Southwell 1991
27 Sam Southwell, Warrior, other notes, lectures 1983-1990, undated
28 Helen Barthelme 1962-2002
29 Proofs, Helen Barthelme undated