Remembering Larry McMurtry, Texas author and bookseller













Larry McMurtry was an author and bookseller from Archer City, Texas who wrote about Texas and the American West to worldwide acclaim. His best known works include Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, and Brokeback Mountain. In 1969 his novel, The Last Picture Show, shared the Texas Institute of Letters award for best fiction with Tom Pendleton’s novel Iron Orchard.


Larry McMurtry letter to Franklin Gilliam, 1983

Booked Up, Larry McMurtry’s book store, began in Washington D.C in 1970, and moved to his hometown in Archer City in 1988. He purchased from book dealers like Franklin Gilliam and John Holmes Jenkins.  The  DeGolyer Library has some of McMurtry’s personal letters in both Gilliam and Jenkins’ collections. A separate selection of McMurtry’s personal letters are also available in the library, and the one above addressed to Franklin Gilliam talks about his “cowboy-novel-to-end-all-cowboy-novels”: Lonesome Dove.

Larry McMurtry inscription to Franklin and Mary Gilliam















Works about Larry McMurtry include Taking Stock: A Larry McMurtry Casebook by Clay Reynolds, published by SMU Press; and The Bookman: A Story About Larry McMurtry’s Other Day Job by Stayton Bonner. Promotional materials for McMurtry’s films are available in the Larry McMurtry In Film Collection, which includes movie posters, pressbooks, and trailers.



Please contact for questions about Larry McMurtry books and manuscripts in DeGolyer Library.



Bonner, Stayton. The Bookman : a Story About Larry McMurtry’s Other Day Job. Archer City, Tex.: Three Dog Press, 2006.

Franklin Gilliam papers, A2020.0013

John Holmes Jenkins papers, A2015.0001. Finding aid available at

Larry McMurtry letters, A1998.2204c

Larry McMurtry in film collection, Ag1986.0569x. Finding aid available at

McMurtry, Larry. Horseman, Pass By. New York: Harper, 1961.

McMurtry, Larry. Lonesome Dove. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.

Reynolds, Clay. Taking Stock : a Larry McMurtry Casebook. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1989.