A Guide to the Mariann Wizard Papers, [ca. 1940s]-2009
Austin political activist and writer Mariann Wizard was born Mariann Exia Garner on September 30, 1946, in Fort Worth, Texas, to Carl Douglas and Alma Catherine (Cooper) Garner. Entering the University of Texas at Austin in 1964, she joined the Students for a Democratic Society and Communist Party and became involved in local political and cultural activities, including demonstrations at Roy’s Lounge. On December 18, 1965, Wizard married fellow activist George Vizard, IV (1943-1967), whom Robert Zani murdered during an Austin convenience store holdup on July 23, 1967. Following Vizard’s death, she began using the pen name "Mariann G. Wizard."
In 1970, Wizard married local writer/activist Larry Waterhouse, and the couple formed Waterwizard Productions. She became involved in a number of journalistic and literary projects as Art Director of Texas Ranger (1969-1970), as Assistant/Associate Editor of Free & Easy (1974-1976), and in other positions. Additionally, she contributed literary and journalistic pieces to a variety of radical/counterculture publications, such as The Rag, The Monterey County Nose, The Dead Tree, The Daily Worker, and NOLA Express. Wizard also co-authored Turning the Guns Around: Notes on the G.I. Movement (1971) and The Adventures of Oat Willie (1987), an underground comic book she penned with artist Jack Jackson, better known as Jaxon.
Following her divorce from Waterhouse, Wizard legally adopted her pen name. She gave up her membership in the Communist Party in 1976 but continued to involve herself with left-oriented causes such as the U.T. shuttle bus driver’s strike (1976) and the Coors Boycott (1977). She also worked with Community United Front, the first black power organization based in East Austin and led by Larry H. Jackson. Wizard also corresponded with Marilyn Buck, one of the "Resistance Conspiracy Six" radicals imprisoned for domestic terrorism by the Federal authorities. In 1976, she returned to college, attending Juarez-Lincoln University and receiving a B.A. in Communications in 1979. That same year she married Michael Kleinman, which whom she had a son, Matthew.
Her community activism continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s on a less radical level than before, working with the Phogg Phoundation and as an original member of the Austin Cable Television Commission. She also continued writing and contributed pieces to River City Currents and First Computer Chronicle, among others. Wizard’s essay on her involvement in radical youth movements in the 1960s and 1970s appeared in the book No Apologies: Texas Radicals Celebrate the ‘60s, edited by Daryl Janes (1992).
Composed of correspondence, printed material, creative works, legal documents, diaries, artwork, and photographic materials, the Mariann Wizard Papers, [ca. 1940s]-2009, are divided into two subgroups, the Mariann Wizard Papers and the George Vizard Papers. The first subgroup documents Mariann Wizard's involvement in Austin radical politics, her personal relationships, and her literary endeavors. The bulk of the materials details Wizard’s political and civic interests and activities, such as the Coors Boycott (1977) and the University of Texas at Austin (UT) Shuttle Bus Strike (1976), and her affiliations with the Communist Party (1967-1976), the Students for a Democratic Society (1967), and the Phogg Phoundation (1977-1984). Correspondence involving notable literary and political figures primarily consists of letters from imprisoned Austin radical Marilyn Buck regarding domestic terrorism, federal prison conditions, and human rights issues (1970-1995). Correspondence also includes missives on behalf of various political candidates and causes (1978-1981). Additionally, working issues and completed copies of the underground comic book, The Adventures of Oat Willie, from 1987 to 1988, as well as essays, editorials, diary entries, poetry, and artwork, illuminate Wizard’s creative writing and journalism endeavors in the Austin area.
The papers of George Vizard, IV, comprise the second subgroup of the collection. The majority of Vizard’s papers describes a volatile period at UT, involving student protests for free speech and free assembly (1962-1967). Correspondence from UT administrators illuminates the administration’s view of the student protests and the administration’s actions (1966-1967), while handbills distributed by student groups describe the events from the students’ perspectives (1967). The papers also include FBI files kept on Vizard (1965-1967) and Mariann Wizard’s correspondence with the FBI concerning Vizard’s murder and Robert Zani’s arrest, trial, and conviction for the crime (1979-1981).
This collection is open for research use.
Medical records are restricted to protect confidentiality and privacy.
Mariann Wizard Papers, [ca. 1940s]-2009, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
This collection was processed by David Baldwin, Teresa Bogar, Donna Engler, Lindsay Mounce, and Beth Russell, December 1995. Subsequent revisions were made by archives staff, 2004, and Laurel Rozema, January 2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers