University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Walter Lord Archive, 1957-1968

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lord, Walter, 1917-2002
Title: Lord, Walter, archive
Dates: 1957-1968
Abstract: Manuscript, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings and research materials used by Walter Lord in writing A Time to Stand (1961).
Accession No.: 2002-242
Extent: 2 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The

Biographical Note

Walter Lord, popular historian and author, was born on October 8, 1917, the only son of John Walterhouse and Henrietta (Hoffman) Lord. Raised in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, Lord attended the Gilman School and later received a Bachelors degree in history from Princeton University in 1939. During his time at Princeton, Lord cultivated his interest in historical research and won the Joline American History prize for excellence in his major subject.

While attending Yale Law School, World War II broke out and Lord went to work for the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency. At the close of the war in 1945, Lord returned to Yale to complete his law degree but decided against practicing law. From 1947 to 1950, Lord worked as an editor for the Research Institute of America, publishing newsletters on legal subjects for businessmen. He developed his writing skills during this period while writing books such as, Getting Military Work (1951) and How to Operate Under Wage and Salary Stabilization (1951). From 1953-56, Lord worked as a copywriter for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in New York City.

In 1954, while working for the advertising agency, Lord published The Fremantle Diary in which he edited and annotated the journal of Lt. Col. Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, an Englishman who toured the southern part of the United States for three months during the Civil War. Lord’s next book, A Night to Remember (1955), was prompted by a life-long fascination with the 1912 sinking of the SS Titanic. This book was revolutionary in that it incorporated interviews with Titanic survivors and provided a minute-by-minute account of the events of that fateful night. The success and popularity of A Night to Remember persuaded Lord to quit his job at the advertising agency and become a fulltime writer.

Over the next three decades, Lord wrote a dozen more books covering a variety of subjects. He examined topics such as Arctic exploration (Peary to the Pole (1963)), World War II (Day of Infamy (1957), Incredible Victory (1967), Miracle of Dunkirk (1982)), the War of 1812 (The Dawn’s Early Light (1972)), the two-week siege of the Alamo (A Time to Stand (1961)) and a follow-up to A Night to Remember entitled The Night Lives On (1987). Beginning withA Night to Remember, Lord’s writing style was characterized by intensive research and exhaustive interviews. Combining historical research with journalistic methods, Lord culled minute details and anecdotes from interviews with participants and ancestors to create a "living history" or "historical narrative" of an event. He used these details to compel the reader to feel that they were present not just as a spectator.

In 1994, the Society of American Historians awarded Lord the Francis Parkman Prize in recognition of his lifetime dedication to American history. He died of Parkinson’s disease in his Manhattan apartment on May 19, 2002. Lord never married and left no immediate survivors.

Scope and Contents

Manuscript, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings and research materials used by Walter Lord in writing A Time to Stand (1961). The majority of the documentation is located in the correspondence (1/2 ft.) and the A Time to Stand research notes (1/2 ft.) series, in which Lord’s organization has remained largely intact. Lord organized his correspondence alphabetically by the respondent’s last name and sometimes included a parenthetical note indicating the Alamo defender it regarded. The periodical requests and general correspondence sub-series provide insight into Lord’s research and writing process. These sub-series contain his letters to numerous periodicals, requesting ads to be placed for information regarding Alamo defenders and the responses he received from ancestors and interested individuals. Due to the breadth of correspondence with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, Maury Maverick, Jr., Charles Ramsdell, and Bertie Shelton separate sub-series exist for these individuals. The A Time to Stand research notes series maintains Lord’s grouping of documents into sub-series: Alamo Facts, Alamo Extracts, and Alamo Personalities. Mainly handwritten, this series contains Lord’s notes about various aspects, such as daily life and statistics, of the Battle of the Alamo.

Printed materials include Photostats, typescripts, magazine articles, journal reprints and brochures related to the Alamo. Lord diligently checked all of his sources. The source lists series note references that require verification as well as archives and newspapers that Lord wanted to visit. This series also includes pamphlets and newspaper articles listing possible sources of more information (books to read, lists of people to see while in Mexico, etc.).

The series entitled the Lucy Leigh Bowie papers contains Miss Bowie’s correspondence, personal memos and newspaper clippings regarding James Bowie and the Bowie knife. Benjamin D. Palmer, who received the material from Miss Bowie, provided these documents to Lord to use while writing A Time to Stand.

The A Time to Stand series contains illustration ideas, book publicity, an undated manuscript of A Time to Stand, and Lord’s handwritten outline for the book.



The collection is comprised of three main series.
  • I. Correspondence, 1957-1962, arranged alphabetically
  • II. Lucy L. Bowie Papers, 1902-1936
  • III. A Time to Stand, 1957-1959, 1961-1962, undated


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

The donor retains copyright on the manuscript, A Time to Stand, by the creator. Written permission must be obtained from copyright holder in order to photocopy or publish from the collection.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Bowie, James, 1805-1836
Bowie, Lucy Leigh, 1872-1966
Lord, Walter, 1917-2002 -- Archives
Maverick, Maury, 1921-2003
Ramsdell, Charles W. (Charles William), 1877-1942
Shelton, Bertie
Subjects (Organizations)
Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Daughters of the Republic of Texas.Library
Yale Law School.
Alamo (San Antonio, Tex.) Siege, 1836
American history and culture
Texas history
Baltimore (Md.)
New York (N.Y.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Walter Lord Archive, 1957-1968, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2.325/V84a Correspondence, 1957-1962.
Periodical requests, 1957.
Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, 1957-1961.
Edith Halter
Marg-Rieitte Montgomery
Maury Maverick, Jr., 1957-1960.
Charles Ramsdell, 1957-1961.
Bertie Shelton, 1957-1961.
General, 1957-1962.
Laura Anderson
Lucie Carr Armstrong
Annie D. Ayers
D.B. Ballard
Jean Boatright
Vivian Gray Bowling
Lenore Bright
J.J. Brown
Roberts H. Brown
Maurice Butler
Jack C. Butterfield
Claudia L. Camp
Jacob Cantor
H. Bailey Carroll
Nellie Carroll
Carlos E. Castañeda
Fidel G. Chamberlain, Jr.
D.W. Collins
Doris H. Connerly
W.C. Coombs
Jim Cooper
Hal Corbett
B.W. Crouch
John Paul Cullen
Fred Culp
Cumbre, S.A.
Mrs. James E. Darst
Mrs. E.L. De Groyler
Eva C. Downing
Arthur Drooker
Elison Photography
O. Etheridge
Rufus L. Floyd
Federico Sanchez Fogarty
S.J. Folmsbee
Tom Freeman
Llerena Friend
Mrs. G.N. Fulshear
Jeline Vance Gillespie
C.T. Graydon
Sue O. Hardeman
Kay Hart
H.T.E. Hertzberg
Stanley F. Horn
Eleonore Jandt
Eleanor Avey Johnson
R.D. Johnson
Seale Johnson
Robert H. Jones, Jr.
Ike S. Kampmann, Jr.
R.G. Kendell, Jr.
Ed Kilman
Mrs. Ernest W. King
Mrs. Louis A. Klein
Kentucky Historical Society (Glenn Clift)
Rhea Kuykendall
Mrs. Clifford Lewis
Florence F. Loomis
Albert C. McDavid
Cordelia Brown McFall
Jess McNeel
Mifflin County Historical Society (J. Martin Stroup)
Mrs. I.O. Miller
Mississippi Archives (Mrs. Carl Black)
Missouri Historical Society (Frances H. Stadler)
Ruby Mixon
Albert Monroe
Andrew Forest Muir (The Journal of Southern History)
Mary Murphy
Pat Irene Nixon
Benjamin D. Palmer
Peabody Institute (John H. Montgomery)
Mrs. A.H. Perry
James Presley
Marie C. Preston
Janet Rappaport
James V. Reese
Mrs. Edward D. Richards
Clarence W. Roberson, Jr.
Mrs. F. Preston Rose
John B. Shackford
R. Bentham Simons
L.C. Sparks
Fred H. Stafer
E.J. Stole
Mrs. F. Strandtman
Ella K. Daggett Stumpf
Texas State Library
Lon Tinkle
Mrs. Eugene Tison
Frank X. Tolbert
Dallas C. Tucker
Edward H. Vogel, Sr.
Frank H. Wardlaw
Robert D. Warth
Walter Prescott Webb
Dorman Winfrey
Yale Library
2.325/v84b Lucy L. Bowie Papers, 1902-1936.
Newspaper clippings
Personal memos
Printed Material
Newspaper clippings, 1915, [1953]-1961.
Photostats of 1836 articles, undated.
Typescripts, 1813, 1836, 1929.
Magazine articles, 1955 and undated.
Journal reprints, 1957 and undated.
Brochures, undated.
Translation of Messages from Santa Ana to Filisola, undated.
Source lists, undated.
Research Notes, undated.
Alamo Accounts
Jose Enrique de la Pena
Enrique Esparza
Participant list
Notes on Ramsdell article, "The Men in the Alamo," undated.
Notes for American West article, "Alamo Myths and Realities," 1968.
2.325/V84c A Time to Stand
Illustrations, 1957-1959.
Book Publicity, 1961-1962.
Manuscript, undated.
Outline, undated.
2.325/V84d A Time to Stand (continued)
Research notes, undated.
Alamo Facts
Laws and Grants
Daily Life
Travis and Bonham
Texan Army
Mexican Army
Alamo Layout
Bowie's End
Crockett's End
Alamo Extracts
Alamo Personalities
Amelia William's List