Austin History Center

Gary M. Lavergne Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Lavergne, Gary M.
Title: Gary M. Lavergne Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1966-2003
Bulk Dates: 1966, 1996-1999
Abstract: Gary M. Lavergne is a non-fiction writer and educational professional that lives in Central Texas. The manuscripts, essays, research files, book reviews, correspondence, book jackets and newspaper clippings in this collection document Lavergne's writing career from the mid-1990s to 2003.
Identification: AR.2002.001
Quantity: .8 linear feet (2 boxes)
Location: Archives stacks
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Gary M. Lavergne was born in the small Southwestern Louisiana Cajun community of Church Point in 1955 to Nolan D. and Helen Barbara Lavergne. He earned a B.A. in Social Studies Education (1976) and a M.Ed. (1981) in Secondary School Teaching from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 1988, he earned an Education Specialist degree (Ed.S.) in Educational Administration and Supervision from McNeese University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. After several years of teaching Social Studies at Rayne High School in Louisiana, Lavergne became the first Director of the Southwest District Professional Development Center (PDC) in 1984. In 1988 he was appointed the first Director of the Region IV Education Service Center of the Louisiana Department of Education. In 1989, he accepted a position with the American College Testing Program (ACT), and in 1997 he went on to become the Director of Admissions and Guidance Services for the Southwestern Regional Office of The College Board. Lavergne served in that position until August 2000 when he became the Director of Admissions Research and Policy Analysis at The University of Texas at Austin.

To date (2012) Lavergne has written four books: A Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders, The Bad Boy from Rosebud, Worse Than Death and Before Brown. In addition to these books Lavergne has authored works on topics such as his Cajun heritage and educational subjects. He has appeared at several Texas Book Festivals and his latest book, Before Brown, has garnered him the 2011 Writers' League of Texas Book Award for Non-Fiction, the 2010 Coral Horton Tullis Prize and the 2010 Carr P. Collins Award.

Source: Adapted from

Accessed: 2012 January 27

Scope and Contents

The manuscripts, essays, research files, book reviews, correspondence, book jackets and newspaper clippings in this collection document Lavergne's writing career from the mid-1990s to 2003.The Papers are organized into two series: I. Works and II. Press, Recognition and Publishing-related.

The Works series (1966, 1994-2003) includes manuscript copies of A Tower to Climb (working title for A Sniper in the Tower) and Worse Than Death, as well copies of assorted articles, reviews and commentaries concerning education issues, Cajun heritage and writing. In addition to the manuscript of A Sniper in the Tower there is also correspondence, research materials and newspaper articles related to Charles Whitman and publishing the book. The correspondence includes letters to potential interview subjects; efforts to find a publisher; and letters of appreciation to those who were supportive of Lavergne during his first foray into writing a full length book. Also included are audio cassettes copies and transcripts of the audio recordings of the telephone communication of the police operator and the police radio of the Austin Police Department on the day of the Whitman shootings.

The Press, Recognition and Publishing-related series (1996-2001) includes awards and recognition received, book reviews, general newspapers clippings about Lavergne and his writing, flyers and newspaper clippings about his author appearances, publisher's catalogs, book jackets and some limited biography information. The majority of the materials are related to the publishing of A Sniper in the Tower.


Arranged into two series:
I. Works
II. Press, Recognition and Publishing-related


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Lavergne, Gary M., 1955-.
Whitman, Charles Joseph, 1941-1966.
Austin (Tex.). Police Dept.
University of North Texas Press.
Austin (Tex.)
Crime writing--Authorship.
Mass murders--Texas--Austin.

Related Material

Archives and Manuscript Collection

  • AR.2000.002 Austin (Tex.). Police Department Records of the Charles Whitman Mass Murder Case
  • AR.2009.045 Whitney Milam Video Collection

General Collection

  • A 364.1509764 LA Lavergne, Gary M. A Sniper in the Tower: the Charles Whitman Mass Murders.
  • A 364.1523097 M1493L Lavergne, Gary M. Bad Boy from Rosebud: the Murderous Life of Kenneth Allen McDuff.

Other Libraries and Repositories

  • Faulk Central Library - DVD 808.02 WR Writing Across Texas. Vol. 24, An Interview with Gary Lavergne
  • Briscoe Center for American History - Gary M. Lavergne Papers

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Gary M. Lavergne Papers (AR.2001.001). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2002/004

Donation Date: 2002, 2003

Processing Information

Collection was processed and finding aid encoded by Molly Hults, 2012.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Works, 1966, 1994-2003

A Sniper in the Tower, 1966, 1994-2001
Box Folder
1 1 "A Tower to Climb" (working title), circa 1996
2 Correspondence, 1994-1997
3 Newspaper clippings, 1996, 2001
4 Austin Police Department police operator telephone recordings (audio cassettes), 1966
5-7 Transcripts of police operator telephone recordings, 1966, 1999
8 Austin Police Department police radio recordings (audio cassettes), 1966
9-12 Transcripts of police radio recordings, 1966, 1999
Worse Than Death: the Belachheb Murders, circa 2002
Box Folder
2 1-2 Manuscript (draft), circa 2002
Additional works, 1996-2003, undated
Box Folder
2 3 Assorted essays, reports, articles, 1996-2003, undated

II. Press, Recognition and Publishing-related, 1996-2001

Box Folder
2 4 Awards and recognitions, 1997-2001
5 Book reviews, 1997-1999
6 Newspaper clippings, 1996-1999
7 Appearances, 1997-2000
8 Publisher catalogs, 1997-1999
9 Book jackets, circa 1990s
10 Biography, 1997