Skip to main content

Joseph Colin Murphey papers, 1939-1993 (inclusive), 1950-1992 (bulk).

Identifier: MS 19

Collection Scope and Content Summary

The papers document Joseph Colin Murphey's career as a writer, teacher and publisher. He wrote poetry, plays and prose, the manuscripts of which are featured here in their various evolutions and stages in Series I. Personal journals, containing mostly poetry and some photographs, dated from 1948 to 1992, are also part of this first series. Series II contains correspondence between Murphey and other writers, friends and family members. He corresponded with many well-known poets, particularly Texas poets, and exchanged constructive criticism and inspiration with them. Series III contains drafts, mock-ups and published copies of journals that detail Murphey's editing, publishing and faculty advising work for several different poetry magazines. Most of the materials are related to the production of Stone Drum. There is limited biographical and personal information in Series IV.

The papers of Dave Oliphant, another manuscript collection housed in TCU Special Collections, is also a resource for information regarding Murphey and his career. It contains correspondence from 1972-1994 between Oliphant and Murphey as well as materials regarding Murphey's work that Oliphant published through Prickly Pear Press. Also included in this collection is an audio recording of Murphey reading some of his own poetry. For more information, see the finding aid for the Oliphant collection.


  • Creation: 1950-1992


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Summary Biography

Joseph Colin Murphey was born on December 13, 1915 in Lufkin, Texas. He was a professor and a poet. Murphey taught English and Creative Writing at Austin College, Indiana State University, Sam Houston State University and Cooke County College. He published over two hundred poems in various poetry journals as well as two complete books of poetry, Trajectories: Twelve Space Poems (Sam Houston State University Press, 1970), A Return to the Landscape (Prickly Pear Press, 1970) and a novella, The Blue Razor Murders (Thomas Cade Publications, 1984). He served as poetry editor for the literary journals Southwest Review and Quartet, faculty advisor for the journals Harlequin, Whetstone and Stone Drum and later published Stone Drum independently for several years. In 1982, he was nominated for the title of Texas Poet Laureate. Joseph Colin Murphey died at the age of 77 in Denton, Texas, on November 25, 1993.


20 Linear feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Joseph Colin Murphey, 1985. Gift of Sue Littleton, 2005. Gift of Charles Behlen, 2008.

Guide to the Joseph Colin Murphey Papers
Manuscript Group 19
Compiled by Amy Leslie
July 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Mary Couts Burnett Library Repository

TCU Box 298400
2800 S. University Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76129-0001
Fort Worth Texas 76129
(817) 257-4566
(817) 257-7282 (Fax)