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Tom Sturak collection on Horace McCoy, 1918-1976
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Tom Sturak collection on Horace McCoy
    Collection number: 1995
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 5.8 linear ft. (11 document boxes, 1 flat box, and 1 record carton)
    Date (inclusive): 1918-1976
    Abstract: 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.
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English. Some books are in French, Italian, Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, and Bosnian.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Creator: Sturak, John Thomas, 1931-

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Tom Sturak Collection on Horace McCoy (Collection 1995). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7356575 

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Jacqueline Hansen on August 13, 2012.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Lori Dedeyan in 2014 in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT)  with assistance from Jillian Cuellar.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia  funds.


    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 final novel, 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.
    TOM STURAK (John Thomas Sturak)
    Tom Sturak (b. June 29, 1931) was a track and field runner, sports journalist and agent, and literature professor. Sturak began his career as a runner at Point Loma High School and continued at San Diego State University, where he edited the college newspaper and graduated with a degree in Journalism. After two years in the Navy during the Korean War, Sturak pursued his postgraduate degree in English at UCLA. His dissertation, entitled The Life and Writings of Horace McCoy, 1897-1955, was submitted and approved in 1966. He was considered an authority on Horace McCoy and did on-set consulting for the 1969 film adaptation of McCoy’s novel They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Sturak worked as chief editor of the computer sciences department at the Rand Corporation until 1970 and taught technical writing and literature at Santa Monica College, California State University, Los Angeles, and UCLA. In 1977, Sturak began working for Nike, where he served as the Director of Running Promotions from 1980-1983. After this, Sturak worked with athletes through Reebok and as an independent sports agent until retirement. Sturak died of Alzheimer’s disease in April 29, 2011, at the age of 79.

    Scope and Content

    Materials collected and generated by UCLA English Department PhD candidate Tom Sturak for his 1966 dissertation on the life and work of fiction writer Horace McCoy. The collection includes notes, correspondence, and research that informed his dissertation work, as well as drafts and a final version of the dissertation. There are also primary materials belonging to Horace McCoy, such as personal and business correspondence, personal ephemera, official records, scrap books, photographs, and press clippings.

    Organization and Arrangement

    This collection has been arranged in the following series and subseries:
    • Series 1: Horace McCoy Materials, 1919-1976
      • Subseries 1.1: Drafts and Writings, 1930s-1955
      • Subseries 1.2: Professional Career, 1920s-1976
      • Subseries 1.3: Personal Materials, 1918-1955
    • Series 2: Tom Sturak Materials, 1959-1971
      • Subseries 2.1: Drafts and Writings, 1959-1966
      • Subseries 2.2: Professional Career, 1959-1971

    Related Material

    Horace McCoy Papers (Collection 794).   UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.
    Sturak’s dissertation, The Life and Writings of Horace McCoy, 1897-1955,   is available at the Young Research Library. Call Number: LD791.9.E5 S935

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Sturak, John Thomas, 1931---Archives.
    McCoy, Horace, 1897-1955--Archives.
    University of California, Los Angeles. Department of English--Faculty--Archives.
    Authors, American--20th century--Archives.
    manuscripts for publication.