University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Kenneth Royal Murdoch:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Murdoch, Royal, 1898-1981
Title: Kenneth Royal Murdoch Papers
Dates: 1940-1982
Abstract: The papers of poet Kenneth Royal Murdoch contain handwritten and typescript drafts of prose and poetry, children's stories, plays, extensive correspondence, and personal material.
Extent: 12 boxes, 1 oversize folder (5.04 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Scope and Contents

The papers of poet Kenneth Royal Murdoch contain handwritten and typescript drafts of prose and poetry, children's stories, plays, extensive correspondence, and personal material. Although his works were published under the name Royal Murdoch, he was known to his friends and family as "Kenneth," the name he also employed in his correspondence. The collection is organized in three series: I. Works, 1941-1982; II. Correspondence, 1940-1981; and III. Personal.

The works in Series I. include drafts of three published books: The Disrobing: Sex and Satire (edited and published posthumously by Winston Leyland of Gay Sunshine Press, 1982), Gargantua's Mouth (1946), and New Friends of Mother Goose (1958). Also present are drafts of an unfinished novel "Letters to Xenophon Ho," as well as numerous poems and playscripts. Ideas and sketches for works can be found in numerous notebooks and notes on various subjects.

Series II. Correspondence, 1940-1981, bound in date order by Murdoch, contains incoming and outgoing letters, primarily typed transcriptions of personal correspondence. Correspondents include Murdoch's mother Mary Snyder, sister Sadie Woodhead, friends such as Winston Leyland, Stavros Mannesis, Felice Picano, Cyril Sloane, and Edward Watkins; and fellow poets including Peter Dent, Marianne Moore, and André Spire. Loose materials from the bound volumes, such as original letters, photographs, and personal papers, are foldered separately and follow the bound letters.

The personal material in Series III. includes promotional blurbs for works by Murdoch, Spanish vocabulary aides, "Poems and Prose, 1954-1974" by David Malberg, diplomas from high school and college, photographs, and cancelled stamps.

Books and personal effects received with the collection were transferred to appropriate departments within the Ransom Center. The material is in good condition with the exception of fragile drafts of "The Letters to Xenophon Ho" that were photocopied to facilitate access without using the original draft pages.



Open for research

Administrative Information


Gift, 2005 (Gift no. 12451)

Processed by:

Hope Rider and Liz Murray, 2005

Container List

Series I. Works, 1941-1982

Box Folder
1 1-3 "Assassination," poem typescripts
4-5 "A Bus-About: Journal of a Journey, 1965, or (You Should Travel Around)," handwritten notebooks
6 Children's stories, typescripts, 1941 and n.d.
7 "Coda: Last Diary," handwritten and typed, May 1980
The Disrobing: Sex and Satire (1982)
8 Bound typescript titled "The Disrobing: Poems of Sex and Satire"; with associated material
Box Folder
2 1-2 Bound carbon typescript, additional typescript pages for final draft, associated material, and correspondence, 1979-1981
3-4 "For Rent: A Back Bedroom," playscripts
5 Gargantua's Mouth (1946), review clippings
6 "Gus," prose, handwritten partial draft
7-8 "The Gypsy," playscript drafts with handwritten corrections
"Letters to Xenophon Ho," unfinished novel, 1970s
9-11 Parts I-IV, typescripts
Box Folder
3 1 Part V, typescript
2 Typescript fragments
3-5 Typescript fragments, photocopies of (fragile) originals, prepared for research use
6-7 Typescript fragments, originals (please request photocopies, folders 3-5, for research use)
Box Folder
4 1 Bound typescript
2 New Friends of Mother Goose (1958), bound typescript
3-6 Notebooks, handwritten
Box Folder
5 1-3 Notes, various subjects
4-8 "The Old Woman and the Happy House," playscripts, draft fragments
9-10 Poems, typescript and handwritten drafts
11 Poetry submission notecards
12 "Stuffed Attic: 1977," poems, bound typescript
Box Folder
6 1 "Vale Means Farewell," typescript fragment
2-4 "The Visiting Uncles," playscripts and draft fragments
5-6 Various works, manuscript draft fragments, typed and handwritten

Series II. Correspondence, 1940-1981

Box Folder
6 7-8 1940-1942
9-10 1941
Box Folder
7 1-2 1943-1952
3-4 1953-1954
5 1955-1957
Box Folder
8 1 1955-1957, cont'd
2-3 1958-1962
4-5 1963-1965
6-7 1966-1967
Box Folder
9 1-2 1968-1969
3-4 1970-1971
5 1972-1973
Box Folder
10 1-2 1974
3-4 1975
5-6 1976
Box Folder
11 1-2 1977
3-4 1978-1979
Box Folder
12 1-2 1979-1981
3-4 Various, unbound, 1940-1980

Series III. Personal

Box Folder
12 5 Book plates with quotes re Murdoch
6-7 Latin to Spanish vocabulary list, carbon typescript and Spanish vocabulary notebook
8 Malberg, David, "Poems and Prose, 1954-1974"
9* Personal, notes and printed material (*oversize diploma removed to oversize file folder)
10 Photographs
11 Stamps, cancelled