University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

William S. Burroughs Collection

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997
Title: William S. Burroughs Collection
Dates: 1963-1964, undated
Abstract: Includes manuscripts and letters written by American novelist, poet, essayist, and spoken word performer William S. Burroughs.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-0624
Extent: 1 box (.42 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center



Open for research

Administrative Information

Processed by:

Joan Sibley and Michael Ramsey, 2011


This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.

Container List


1.1-4 Dead Fingers Talk, typescript and cuttings from printed pages of previously published books pasted on larger sheets with handwritten revisions, deletions, and notes, 279 leaves, undated.
1.5 A Distant Hand Lifted, typescript and carbon copy typescript with handwritten revisions, 3 pages, undated. Included with this: A Note on the Method Used in this Text, typescript, 1 page, undated. Also included: 4 TLS from Burroughs to Cleft, directed to Bill McArthur, April-November 1963; ALS, ANS from Bill McArthur to Bernard Stone, 10 and 27 September 1964.
Note on a Method for Making "Time Reactions," handwritten manuscript with note signed by Burroughs, 2 pages, undated.


1.5 TccLS to Times Literary Supplement, 17 January 1964. Concerns a review of Dead Fingers Talk. Included with this: Burroughs, Variations on the Review of Dead Fingers Talk, typescript with handwritten notes, 2 pages, undated.

Explanatory Note Concerning Manuscript Collections Cataloged in the Card Catalog

Prior to 1990 when archival cataloging procedures were adopted at the Ransom Center, all manuscript collections were described in a card catalog.

Organization of Collections:

Manuscripts for each author collection were organized into four categories:

  • Works: manuscripts by the author, arranged alphabetically by title;
  • Letters: the author's outgoing correspondence, arranged alphabetically by recipient name;
  • Recipient: the author's incoming correspondence, arranged alphabetically by the author of the letter; and
  • Miscellaneous: all other manuscripts and correspondence, arranged alphabetically by creator.

Materials that did not fit into these categories, such as art, photographs, books, and near-print materials such as newspaper clippings, were dispersed to other Ransom Center collections for cataloging and storage.

Abbreviations Used in Descriptions:

The symbols below were used in combinations. For example ALS means autograph letter signed; Tccms means typed carbon copy manuscript, etc.

  • A = autograph (i.e., handwritten)
  • T = typed
  • S = signed
  • I = initialed
  • Ms = manuscript
  • Mss = manuscripts
  • L = letter
  • FL = form letter
  • N = note
  • D = document
  • C = card
  • PC = post card
  • cc = carbon copy
  • p = page
  • pp = pages
  • l = leaf
  • ll = leaves
  • nd = no date
  • inc d = incomplete date