University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Donald Barthelme Forum Collection , 1956-1960

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Barthelme, Donald
Title: Donald Barthelme Forum Collection ,
Dates: 1956-1960
Abstract: Writer Donald Barthelme founded the journal Forum in 1956 while working at the University of Houston, and served as editor until 1960. This quarterly journal featured articles on a wide range of topics including philosophy, literary criticism, economics, anthropology, psychology, biology, mathematics, architecture, film, music, and theater. The collection contains three manuscript boxes of materials related to Barthelme's tenure as editor of Forum .
Identification: 1969-004
Quantity: 3 boxes; 1 ft. 6 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

Biographical Note

Donald Barthelme, short story writer, novelist, editor, journalist, and teacher, was born in Philadelphia on April 7, 1931. In 1933, his family moved to Houston, Texas where his father, Donald Barthelme, Sr., soon established himself as a well-known architect in the style of Mies and Corbusier. Barthelme got an early start in journalism at St. Thomas and Lamar High Schools in Houston.

In the fall of 1949, he enrolled at the University of Houston where he worked on the staff of the Daily Cougar and, as a 20-year-old sophomore journalism major, was the youngest student in the Cougar's history to hold the position of editor. Before graduating, he was drafted into the Army in February of 1953, served in Korea and worked on an Army newspaper there. When he returned to Houston in late 1954, he began working as a reporter for the Houston Post. In September of 1955, he began working for Farris Block at the University of Houston News Service, writing speeches for the President of the University, and, the next year, he succeeded Block as editor of Acta Diurna, a weekly newsletter for University of Houston faculty and staff.

The University of Houston published the first issue of Forum in September 1956. Founded by Barthelme and edited by him until 1960, this quarterly journal featured articles on a wide range of topics including philosophy, literary criticism, economics, anthropology, psychology, biology, mathematics, architecture, film, music, and theater. In 1961, Barthelme became director of the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston but resigned the following year to move to New York and pursue his career as a writer.

Once in New York, he began to publish frequently in the New Yorker where Roger Angell became his editor and mentor. As a writer, Barthelme has been characterized as an avant-garde or postmodern stylist who relies more on language than plot or character. Upon arriving in New York, he also served as editor of Harold Rosenberg and Thomas Hess's art and literature journal, Location, for the publication's short life of two issues. He lived in New York for 18 years, occasionally teaching at the City University of New York, and then, in 1980, moved back to Houston to serve as the Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. Barthelme died of throat cancer in 1989 at the age of 58.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains three manuscript boxes of materials related to Barthelme's tenure as editor of Forum. Researchers may be interested in the Forum collection of materials post-dating Barthelme's time as editor.


Access Restrictions

Open for research.


Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Index Terms

Terms are either Library of Congress Subject Headings or taken from local sources.
Subjects (Persons)
Barthelme, Donald
Forum (Houston, Tex)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Donald Barthelme Forum Collection, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries


The papers in this collection were donated by the Forumoffice.

Processed by

Heather Moore, August 1993, Andrea Bean, July 1994. Updated by Julie Grob, 2004.

Detailed Description of the Collection


1 Correspondence-Incoming, A-C, 1956-1959
Correspondence-Incoming, D-F, 1957-1959
Correspondence-Incoming, G-K, 1956-1959
Correspondence-Incoming, L-R, 1956-1959
Correspondence-Incoming, S-V, 1956-1959
Correspondence-Incoming, W-Z, 1956-1959
Correspondence-Outgoing, 1956
Correspondence-Outgoing 1957
Correspondence-Outgoing 1958
Correspondence-Outgoing 1959
Correspondence-Subscriptions Renewals 1957-1960
2 Clower, Jean. Flight into Egypt. The Naturalist. Fanfare. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 4 pp. 1960
Corrigan [Robert W.]. (Forum 3.2, 1959). 26 pp. 1959
Dienstfrey, Harris. A Love Story. Troubles of Town. Straw Man, Wandering Child, Billy the Straw Kid. The Proud and the Profane. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 24 pp. 1959
Doan, Frank. Historicity and the Art Symbol. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 24 pp. 1959
Dozier, Tom. Jung and Jones on U.S. Educational TV. undated. 20 pp.
Ekelof, Gunnar. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 4 pp. 1960
Ellenberger, Henri F. The Psychology of Destiny. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 22 pp. 1959
Evans, Richard I. Discussion with Dr. Jung. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 102pp. 1959
Fiedler, [Leslie A.]. (Forum 3.3, 1959). 20 pp. 1959
Galbraith, John Kenneth. The Welfare State. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 28 pp. 1959
Gass, [W.H.]. The Case of Obliging Stranger. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 12 pp. 1960
Goeters, H.F. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 11 pp. 1960
Grunbaum, Werner F. The Warren Court and its Critics. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 18 pp. 1960
[Hungate, Rosa]. (Forum 3.3 1959). 3 pp. 1959
Jensen, James R. FORTUNE and the American Dream. (Forum 3.3, 1959). 19 pp. 1959
Karlen, Arno. Let Us Dedicate These Lines. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 2 pp. 1960
Kaufmann, Walter. Freud. (Forum 3.2, 1959). 14 pp. 1959
[Kenner, Hugh]. Sweeney and the Voice. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 14 pp. 1959
Kenner, Hugh. The Rational Domain. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 23 pp. 1960
Lyons, Joseph. Magic, Fate, and Delusion. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 31 pp. 1959
Lyons, Joseph. Note Found Inside the Rock. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 26 pp. 1959
McLuhan, Marshall. (Forum 3.4, 1960).22 pp. 1960
Natanson, Maurice. (Forum 3.3, 1959). 24 pp. 1959
Nemerov, Howard. What Mephisto Meant. Original Thirst. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 2 pp. 1960
Nogee, Joseph. Disarmament as Gamesmenship. (Forum 3.1, 1959). 53 pp. 1959
Parkinson, [C. Northcote]. (Forum 3.2, 1959).14 pp. 1959
Percy, Walker. Science and the Loss of the Creature. (Forum 2.3, 1958). 12 pp. 1958
Percy, Walker. Carnival in Gentilly. (Forum 3.4, 1960).46 pp. 1960
[Peterson, Roberts]. Poem. The Way My Thoughts Stir. Fiji Marching Band. On. Six Haiku. (Forum 3.3, 1959). 6 pp. 1959
Raines, Charles A. Faulkner and Human Freedom. (Forum 3.3, 1959). 1 p. 1959
Riesman, David. Flight and Search in the New Suburbs. (Forum 3.3, 1959). 1959
Rosenberg, Harold. The Audience as Subject. (Forum 3.3, 1959). 1959. 6 pp. 1959
Toman, Walker, The Do-It-Yourself Living Space. (Forum 3.3, 1959).13 pp. 1959
Tyler, Parker. (Forum 2.3, 1958).10 pp. 1958
Yates, Peter B. (Forum 2.3, 1958). 10 pp. 1958
Yates, Peter B. A Skilled One, A Skilled Job Done, A Long Long Prose and a Long Long Poem, A Portrait of Gertrude Stein. (Forum 3.4, 1960). 21 pp. 1960
Disarmament: An Interpretation. undated. 4 pp.
Hegel: Contribution and Calamity. undated. 12 pp.
"The man who played …" 24 pp.
"The program of the Fifth Annual …" 10 pp.
Unidentified corrections. 3 pp.
3 ACPRA Award, 1958
Ads. Sept. , Oct., and Nov. 1957
Brando, Marlon. 2 photographs, 1958
Clip art, undated
Cullen Building, Ezekiel. 1 photograph, undated.
[Forum staff]. 1 photograph, [1958]
Forum stationary
Grace Borgenicht Gallery, 1960
Harvest, 1960
Magazine Covers, 1959-1960
Magazine Covers, 1959-1960
Magazine Covers, 1959-1960
Martha Jackson Gallery. 8 photographs, undated
Miscellaneous, undated
Newspaper clippings, undated
Siporin, Mitchell, ca. 1957