Tom Sturak was an English Department doctoral candidate and, later, professor at UCLA, whose dissertation on the life and
work of ‘hardboiled’ fiction author Horace McCoy was published in 1966. This collection encompasses the materials collected
by Sturak for his research, as well as his correspondence, drafts, and a completed copy of his dissertation. Collected materials
include McCoy’s manuscripts, published articles, screenplays, personal and professional correspondence, and personal records
and ephemera. They focus primarily on Horace McCoy’s work as a screenwriter and novelist while living in Los Angeles.
Horace McCoy was a writer of ‘hardboiled’ fiction, best known for his 1935 novel
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? McCoy was born in Tennessee on April 14, 1897 and later moved with his family to Dallas, where, after his service in the
Air Force during WWI, he began his professional writing career. He was the sports editor for the
Dallas Journal and for a time worked as editor on his own publication,
The Dallasite. He also performed as an amateur actor in the Dallas Little Theater. Towards the end of this period, he began publishing
stories in the famous ‘pulp’ magazine The Black Mask, which featured other ‘hardboiled’ writers such as Raymond Chandler and
Dashiell Hammett. In 1931, he followed Little Theater director Oliver Hinsdell to Los Angeles, and began the work for which
he is best known. Over the next two decades, he developed and wrote screenplays for various studios. His novel
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? was published in 1935 and was followed by
No Pockets in a Shroud and
I Should Have Stayed Home, in 1938. McCoy continued to work primarily as a screenwriter and did not publish another novel until 1948’s
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. As an author, he enjoyed much wider success abroad, particularly in France, where his works found critical acclaim. His
Scalpel, was published in 1952. He died of a heart attack in his home in Beverly Hills on December 15, 1955. During that year, he
had also submitted fifty pages of a new novel, which was developed into
Corruption City and published posthumously in 1959.
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? was adapted into a 1969 film featuring Jane Fonda.
5.8 linear ft.
(11 document boxes, 1 flat box, and 1 record carton)
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright,
are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright
and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
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Collections Reference Desk for paging information.