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Larry Brown Small Manuscripts Collection



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Summary Information

University of Mississippi Libraries
Jerry "Jake" Leath Mills
Larry Brown SMMSS
1.5 Linear feet 1 box + 1 oversize box
General Physical Description note
2 boxes
Language of Materials
Collection consists of documents related to the life and work of Larry Brown created from 1989-2000.

Preferred Citation

Larry Brown SMMSS Collection (MUM00049), Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of Mississippi.

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Biographical Note

One of the foremost writers in what has been dubbed "grit lit," Larry Brown has been lauded for his graphic, raw fiction about the rural South -- stories featuring characters who are ordinary and poor, and struggling with such real-life issues as marital strife, alcoholism, suicide, and the traumas of war. Born July 9, 1951, in Oxford, Mississippi, Brown is sometimes compared to fellow Oxford resident William Faulkner because of their similar origins and education: both briefly attended the University of Mississippi (without graduating), and both learned their craft as writers in large measure by avid reading. Brown worked in a number of jobs over the years, including carpenter, lumberjack, fence builder, carpet cleaner, housepainter, hay hauler, and store employee, but he began his writing career during his career as a firefighter, a job he held from 1973 to 1990, when he retired to write full-time. First publishing stories in a number of magazines and journals, Brown's first book was a collection of stories, Facing the Music (1988). The following year, he published his first novel, Dirty Work (1989), which was inspired in part by his father's experiences in World War II. Brown's fiction continued to chronicle the downtrodden and disheartened denizens of the American South. The stories in Big Bad Love (1990) depict marital malaise of varying degrees, while the novel Joe (1991) teams up the title character, a hard-drinking ex-convict who heads up a forest defoliation crew, with 15-year-old Gary Jones, the son of a truly evil no-count drunk migrant worker; despite the opinion of the local cops, both are essentially good and just, and despite his own reluctance as a role model, Joe proves to be just what Gary needs. Other works of fiction by Brown include Father and Son (1996) and Fay (2000). He has also written several nonfiction works, including On Fire (1993), about his work as a firefighter, and Billy Ray's Farm (2001), essays about his life and work as a writer. Brown died November 24, 2004, at his home near Oxford. He was 53 years old.

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Material is arranged chronologically.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Mississippi Libraries

Revision Description


Access Restrictions

The Larry Brown SMMSS Collection is open for research.

Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.


Occasional additions are expected to this collection.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • manuscripts
  • postcards

Personal Name(s)

  • Brown, Larry, 1951-2004


  • American literature -- 20th century
  • American literature -- Mississippi
  • Posters -- 20th century

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Collection Inventory

Box 1 

Advertisement/ticket order form for performance of "Dirty Work," at Hoka, Oxford, Mississippi 1995-04-30 

The Algonkian, August 1989 and June 1990. 

Photocopy of article from Chicago Tribune, re: Brown, 19 June 1990. 

Program from state adaptation of "Dirty Work," at Old Vat Theater, 21 January - 30 January 1994 (2 copies) (94-7). 

Program from stage adaptation of "Dirty Work," at Hoka, Oxford, Mississippi, 30 March - 2 April 1995 (2 copies) (95-39). 

Promotional postcard for Deaf Maggie Lee Sayre, by Tom Rankin, with blurb from Larry Brown, 1995 (95-84). 

Broadside. "The Larry Brown Writers' Series" (Lafayette County/Oxford Public Library,23 October 2000). 

Postcard. Larry Brown's Big Bad Love at Square Books in Oxford, MS. 

"Easyrider Goes into Highbrow" Easyriders (October 2001): 32. Re: Appearance of the magazine in Special Collection's 25th anniversary catalog containing first published short story by Larry Brown. 

Program for Thomas Wolfe Lecture at University of North Carolina on October 21, 2001 (2001-94). 


October 18, 1989. Larry Brown to James C. Mitchell. 

March 30, 1991. Larry Brown to James C. Mitchell. 

Postcard. Promotion for Brown's Facing the Music -- booksigning at Square Books. 

Program. "Arena Stage presents A PlayQuest Workshop of Dirty Work by Larry Brown and Richard Corley, From the novel by Larry Brown" (1994). Signed by Larry Brown. 

Autograph Letter Signed. November 1, 1991. Larry [Brown] to "Ken." Re: writing film script, latest Paris Review. 

Larry Brown memorial pamphlet and funeral program. November 24, 2004. 

Typewritten Manuscript. Mills, Jerry Leath. "Larry Brown As A Man of Letters." [Speech written and presented by J.L. Mills in honor of Larry Brown for the 14th Oxford Conference for the Book, March 23, 2007.] 

Pamphlets. The Fourteenth Oxford Conference for the Book-Dedicated to Larry Brown. March 22-24, 2007. Oxford, Mississippi. [4 Pamphlets and 1 "Schedule of Events" insert.] 

Program. Program for Dedication of the Lafayette County/Oxford Public Library Expansion. April 13, 1997. 

Typewritten Manuscript. Unedited Introduction to Faulkner's World, By Larry Brown. [1997], 6 pages. 

Print. Portrait of Larry Brown; signed (artist illegible); 4 of 40. 

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Box 2 

Vodka advertisement “Absolut Brown,” re: Larry Brown’s On Fire (circa 1993). 

Poster “The Rough South of Larry Brown”; signed by author; drymounted (circa 2003). 

Sketch by Glennray Tutor for dust jacket design of Larry Brown’s Big, Bad Love (circa 1990). 

Framed Item Bin 1. Note: request two business days in advance as framed items are stored at an off-site facility. Framed Item #144. Dust jacket galley for Big, Bad Love with artwork by Glennray Tutor (circa 1990). Signed by artist. 

On display in Special Collections: Framed Item #145. Oil painting by Glennray Tutor, re: design of dust jacket for Larry Brown’s Big, Bad Love (circa 1990). 

Framed Item #505. Movie poster “Big, Bad Love.” 

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