Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Robert Crosson Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0587
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
21.2 Linear feet
(45 archives boxes, 1 card file box and 3 oversize folders)
Date (inclusive): 1945 - 2001
The papers of Robert Crosson, Hollywood actor and contemporary Los Angeles poet, contain manuscript and typescript drafts
for Crosson's published collected works, especially GEOGRAPHIES (1981), ABANDONED LATITUDES: NEW WRITINGS BY 3 LOS ANGELES
POETS (1983), CALLIOPE (1988), and THE BLUE SOPRANO (1994); individual poems published in small literary magazines; and unpublished
poetry and prose, including his novel "Round-Trip to Midland." Of particular interest are Crosson's daybooks which record
his daily activities, thoughts and writings for over four decades. Also included are video and audio recordings, photographs
of Crosson, and collages. The papers are arranged in eight series: 1) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS
BY CROSSON, 4) DAYBOOKS, 5) ARTWORKS BY CROSSON, 6) CASSETTE RECORDINGS, 7) REEL-TO-REEL AUDIO RECORDINGS, and 8) ORIGINALS
OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
Crosson, Robert, 1929-2001
Scope and Content of Collection
The Robert Crosson Papers document the literary career of a Los Angeles poet and writer. Materials include typescript drafts
for published collected poetry and individually published poems, as well as unpublished poetry, plays and prose. Included
are his daybooks (1980-2000) in which he recorded his writing and descriptions of daily activities. The collection contains
collages, drawings and slides of Crosson's watercolors; audiorecordings of Crosson's poetry readings; correspondence; and
miscellaneous materials, especially photographs of Crosson and a scrapbook documenting his acting career.
The Robert Crosson Papers are arranged in eight series: 1) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS BY CROSSON,
4) DAYBOOKS, 5) ARTWORK BY CROSSON, 6) CASSETTE RECORDINGS, 7) REEL-TO-REEL RECORDINGS, and 8) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
SERIES 1: MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series, arranged alphabetically, contains formal and informal portraits of Crosson and photographs
of friends. Also included is a scrapbook that documents Crosson's professional acting career and includes clippings of reviews,
program announcements, correspondence, documents, black-and-white portraits of Crosson, and photographs of movie scenes.
SERIES 2: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series is arranged alphabetically and includes correspondence with Paul Vangelisti, Lee Hickman and Lourie
SERIES 3: WRITINGS BY CROSSON
The WRITINGS BY CROSSON series is arranged in three subseries: A) College Papers, B) Published Works, and C) Unpublished Works.
A) The College Papers subseries spans the years 1947-1952 and consists of notebooks and manuscripts from high school and college
B) The Published Works subseries, arranged chronologically, contains drafts of typescripts for GEOGRAPHIES: WILLIAM JAMES,
GERTRUDE STEIN, GENERAL BOOTH AND IVES (1980); ABANDONED LATITUDES: NEW WRITINGS BY 3 LOS ANGELES POETS (1983), CALLIOPE (1988)
and BLUE SOPRANO (1994). Also included are drafts of poems published in small literary magazines.
C) The Unpublished Works subseries, arranged alphabetically, contains drafts of plays, poetry and novels. Included are individual
works, collected manuscripts, and drafts of Crosson's unpublished novel entitled "Round-Trip to Midland."
SERIES 4: DAYBOOKS
The DAYBOOKS series contains notebooks (1957-2001, arranged chronologically, that record thoughts and daily events in Crosson's
life. Also included are pasted in clippings, photographs, correspondence, and drawings by Crosson and others.
SERIES 5: ARTWORKS BY CROSSON
The ARTWORKS BY CROSSON contains collages (1998-2001) created by Crosson during his stays in convalescent facilities. Also
included are drawings and slides of his watercolor paintings.
SERIES 6: CASSETTE RECORDINGS
The CASSETTE RECORDINGS series is arranged in four subseries: A) Videorecordings, B) Audiocattettes - Readings by Crosson,
C) Audiocassettes - Readings by Others, and D) Audiocassettes - Interviews.
A) The Videorecordings subseries contains a dubbed copy of MIKE'S MURDER, a movie that Crosson acted in, as well as clippings
and reviews for the work. Also included are two videorecordings of Crosson reading his poetry.
B) The Audiocassettes - Readings by Crosson subseries, arranged by title, contains audio recordings of poetry readings by
Crosson and spans the years 1977-1997. Includes Crosson's reading of GEOGRAPHIES, "Old Venice Jailhouse, PARTY: A REUNION,
and Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself."
C) The Audiocassettes - Readings by Others subseries consist of readings by other poets and includes a reading by Paul Vangelisti
entitled the "Villa."
D) The Audiocassettes - Interviews subseries contains recordings of interviews with Crosson and spans the years 1978-1982.
SERIES 7: REEL-TO-REEL RECORDINGS
The REEL-TO-REEL RECORDINGS series is arranged in two subseries: A) Readings by Crosson, B) Readings with Others.
A) The Readings by Crosson subseries contains recordings of readings of prose and selected unpublished writings.
B) The Readings with Others subseries contains recordings of readings with others.
SERIES 8: ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES
The ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES contain original items from the collection which have high acid content. These papers
are photocopied and segregated at the end of the collection.
Born in 1929, in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, Crosson moved with his family to Pomona, California, in 1944. He graduated from
Pomona High School in 1948, attended Mt. San Antonio College and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles,
where he obtained a bachelor's degree in English and theatre arts in 1951.
Between 1952 and 1960, Crosson pursued an acting career and appeared in numerous television programs, including "Captain Midnight,"
"Dragnet," "Superman," "Studio 57," and the "Millionaire," as well as the Paramount pictures, WHITE CHRISTMAS and LAST DAY
OF MY LIFE.
At the end of the 1950s, Crosson moved to Europe to write, but returned after two years making little progress. He entered
the masters program in library science at UCLA, but soon gave up to work on his novel, "Midland." Crosson worked as a dishwasher,
restaurant manager and eventually supported himself and his writing as a house painter and carpenter until 1996 when his health
began to decline.
Crosson's first published book, GEOGRAPHIES (1981), was followed by ABANDONED LATITUDES: THREE LOS ANGELES WRITERS (1983),
CALLIOPE (1988), THE BLUE SOPRANO (1994), and a chapbook entitled IN THE ETHERS OF THE AMAZON, POEMS 1984-1997. His work entitled
"Round-Trip to Midland" remains unpublished. Crosson's daybooks document his daily activities of writing, house painting and
carpentry. His collage making began after his first stay in a convalescent hospital in 1998.
Crosson died on December 10, 2001.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Robert Crosson Papers, MSS 587. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Crosson, Robert, 1929-2001 -- Archives
American poetry -- 20th century