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Violette Newton Papers

Identifier: MS 115

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, writings, newspaper clippings, and ephemera document the literary career of Violette Newton from 1929-2001. The collection is divided into three series: I. Writings, 1929-2001; II. Correspondence, 1938-2000; III. Scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and ephemera, 1962-2000.

The first series, Writings, 1929-2001 includes copies of Newton's published works, unpublished manuscripts, and some material sent to her by other writers. Materials filed with some of the titles include a history of the book written by Newton, newspaper clippings, publication announcements, and correspondence related to the book. Also included are early poems, a play manuscript, short story drafts, and a memoir of Newton's early life. Finally, this series also contains some writings sent to her by fellow writers.

Correspondence, 1938-2000, primarily includes letters received by Violette Newton from her friends, family, publishers, fellow writers, and admirers from 1938-2000. There are two folders of outgoing letters written by Newton. The letters cover a variety of subjects, such as personal stories, her work as a poet, public appearances, and other news. Of particular note are the collected letters of Fort Worth poet and playwright William Barney, who was named Poet Laureate of Texas in 1982. Newton often made notes on the letters and senders on the envelopes, which are filed with the letters.

The final series, Scrapbooks, Newspaper Clippings, and Ephemera, 1962-2000, includes scrapbooks made by Newton documenting her literary career, honors, and achievements. The series also includes other ephemera collected by Newton such as poetry conference programs, newspaper clippings, and Internet printouts of catalog records for her books.


  • Creation: 1929-2001 inclusive
  • Creation: 1967-2000 bulk


Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research. Copyright has not been transferred to Texas Christian University.

Biographical note

Violette Newton was born in Alexandria, Louisiana in 1912 to Elizabeth Lunny and Reece Wiggins. As a child, she loved stories and poetry and became interested in writing in elementary school. The family moved to the oil boomtown of Port Arthur, Texas in 1925, where her father worked in the refineries. In high school, Newton served as editor of the school newspaper, yearbook editor, and art editor of the school literary magazine. She went on to attend Lamar College. In 1936 she married Wilben Long Newton, also a writer, and the couple made Beaumont their permanent home, where they raised three children, Roma, Reece, and Erin. The Newtons fostered an appreciation for art, literature, and music in their family.

Home and family responsibilities dominated Violette's time and she let go of writing for many years. As her children got older, she could devote more time to poetry and she began submitting her verses for publication. Encouraged by her family and fellow writers, she published her first volume of poems, Moses in Texas, in 1967, when she was 55 years old. She would go on to publish 20 books of poetry and receive numerous awards and honors for her writing.

In 1973 Governor Dolph Briscoe named Newton the Poet Laureate of Texas. She received honors from the Poetry Society of America, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and the Poetry Society of Texas, among others. Her notable works include Just My Size (1975), a collection of children's poetry, A Cathedral Ringing: Poems of Guatemala (1976), inspired by her trip to Guatemala in the wake of the 1973 earthquake, and The Scandal (1981), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and won the Merrick Award from the Poetry Society of America. Newton was continually inspired by her husband, children, grandchildren, ancestral family ties, friendships, nature, and her travels in Europe, the British Isles, and Central America. Many of her poems reflected her interest in historical events and social criticism.

Newton mentored emerging writers and advocated for poetry by giving talks, presentations and readings, and attending writers' conferences. In addition to her poetry, she wrote guest columns for the Beaumont Enterprise among other publications.

Violette Newton died in Beaumont, Texas on February 2, 2013 at the age of 100.


5.00 Linear feet

Language of Materials



Correspondence, writings, newspaper clippings, and ephemera document the literary career of Violette Newton from 1938-2001. The collection includes histories written by Newton on her early books, correspondence with other notable writers and publishers in Texas, and scrapbooks documenting her literary career.


Arranged in three series: I. Writings, 1929-2001; II. Correspondence, 1938-2000; III. Scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and ephemera, 1962-2000.


Donations made by Violette Newton in 1999 and 2000.

Related Materials

The Violette Newton Collection, West Texas A & M University, Canyon, Texas.

Guide to the Violette Newton Papers
Compiled by Mary Saffell
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)