A Guide to the Robert Flynn Papers, 1950-1971
Robert Flynn was born April 12, 1932, in Chillicothe, Texas. He graduated with a degree in drama from Baylor University in 1954. After teaching speech and drama for two years at Gardner-Webb College in North Carolina, Flynn returned to Baylor as an assistant professor in the Drama Department. When the Baptist university closed down the 1962 production of Long Days Journey Into Night, Flynn followed the entire drama faculty, headed by department chair Paul Baker, to Trinity University, where Flynn continues to hold a position in the English Department as writer-in-residence.
In 1964, Flynn adapted William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying to the stage in a play entitled Journey to Jefferson. The Dallas Theater Center Production directed by Paul Baker won a Special Jury Award at the Theater of Nations in Paris in 1964. In 1967, Knopf published Flynn's first novel, North to Yesterday, a hilarious traildriving adventure that is "at the same time . . . an ungentle satire on the foolishness of those who live in the past as well as the blindness of those who turn their backs on it." (Garfield 38) This was followed by two other works published by Knopf In the House of the Lord (1969), The Sounds of Rescue, the Signs of Hope (1970), and by Wanderer Springs (1987), published by Texas Christian University Press. Flynn has published two collections of short stories, Seasonal Rain (1986), and Living with the Hyenas (1995).
Flynn had temporarily dropped out of college to serve two years with the Marines during the Korean War. In 1970 after many years in academia, he sought out a position as a war correspondent to Vietnam, eventually getting his credentials through True Magazine. Flynn spent two months in Vietnam and was profoundly affected by the experience. He ultimately wrote a memoir, A Personal War in Vietnam, published in 1989 and a novel, The Last Klick, published in 1994.
Two stories in Seasonal Rain were winners in the NEA/PEN Syndicated Fiction Project. Wanderer Springs won a Spur Award from Western Writers of America and North to Yesterday won a Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Bibliography: Garfield, Brian, Saturday Evening Post, July 22, 1967: 38.
The Flynn papers consist of a script, programs, drafts, notes, photographs, articles, military documents and correspondence. A copy of Flynn's script Journey to Jefferson is included along with programs from the 1964 European tour of the play. There is a typescript of Flynn's first novel, North to Yesterday, with related notes and letters from the publisher covering editor's comments, suggestions for revision, title changes, foreign publication, sales and reviews. Also present are galleys and plate proofs from In the House of the Lord. Flynn had served as a Marine in Korea and he covered Vietnam in 1971 for True Magazine. This collection contains material from his tour, including a guide to Vietnam and a pamphlet on the operation of an M16 rifle; combat photographs; Flynn's marine I.D. and dogtag, his True Magazine press I. D. cards and ration card; Vietnamese money, telegrams, newsletters, reports, Flynn's handwritten notes and a camouflage uniform.
Open for research.
Donated by Robert Flynn from 1989 through 1993. Contact the SWWC for information about additional materials from this writer that have not yet been fully processed.
Processed by Gwynedd Cannan, July 1995.
Detailed Description of the Collection