A Guide to the Elizabeth Crook Papers, 1984-2000
Elizabeth Crook was born in 1960 in Nacogdoches and raised in San Marcos, Washington DC, where her father directed VISTA under Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Australia, where her father served as ambassador. Ms. Crook went on to Baylor University, and received her B.A. in English from Rice University.
In 1985, she began intensely researching what would become a lengthy article in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly (July, 1990), focused on the 1828 marriage of Tennessee governor Sam Houston and the 20 year old Eliza Allen. This article became the touchstone of her best-selling first novel, Raven’s Bride, published in 1991 by Doubleday. The 750 pg. manuscript was accepted by the publisher after fifteen publishing houses had rejected it; Crook’s soon-to-be editor at Doubleday, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, called her personally to accept it. Award-winning journalist and author Bill Moyers writes that in Raven’s Bride, Crook “brought to life the great events of Texas past and turned them into a robust novel. The characters, the descriptions, and the drama are a panorama that only a fine historian or inspired novelist could handle to the reader’s delight, and Ms. Crook is both.”
In 1993, Ms. Crook was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. A year later, she published her second novel, Promised Lands : A Novel of the Texas Rebellion, also edited by Ms. Onassis at Doubleday. “At a time when war is sanitized, televised, and intellectualized, Crook’s most important contribution may be her reminder of the insanity and sheer waste of it all… Though she probably did not intend it that way, her account of the slaughter at Goliad is one of the most powerful anti-war statements I’ve read” (Joyce Slater, Houston Post). Ms. Crook currently lives in Austin, with her husband, Marc Lewis, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, and their son.
Research notes, annotated typescripts, correspondence, photographs, and newsclippings in the Elizabeth Crook papers range in date from 1984-2001, and relate mainly to Crook’s novels of historical fiction, Raven’s Bride (1991), and Promised Lands : A Novel of the Texas Rebellion (1994). Series include I. Works (1984-1994), II. Mailing Lists (n.d.), and III. Clippings (1990-2000).
Series I : Works:
Subseries A: Raven’s Bride: This subseries includes extensive research files and many annotated typescripts of Crook’s first novel. The research files include clippings, handwritten notes, photographs, and correspondence with research assistant Eva B. Denning, of Gallatin, TN, 1984-90. The typescripts have been arranged in alphabetical order by the various working titles.
Subseries B: Promised Lands: This subseries includes research files and annotated typescripts of Crook’s second novel. The typescripts have been arranged in alphabetical order by the various working titles. Correspondence includes a letter from John Graves commenting on Promised Lands, editorial correspondence with Jackie Onassis, and correspondence regarding publicity. Also includes 1 b/w publicity photo of Crook by Dan Flores.
Subseries C: Essays and Articles
Series II : Mailing Lists (n.d.): The mailing lists in this series include personal and business contacts, as well as lists for publicity purposes, such as newspaper lists.
Series III : Clippings (1990-2000): This series includes newsclippings, reviews, and select editorial correspondence, as maintained by Ms. Crook.
Open for research.
Gift donated by Elizabeth Crook, 1995 and 2001. Note: Contact the archivist for information about additional materials from this writer that have not yet been fully processed.
Processed by Amanda York, 2001.
Detailed Description of the Collection