Scope and Content of Collection
University of California, Santa Cruz
Title: Raymond Carver photographs
Identifier/Call Number: MS.130
1 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1938-1988
Abstract: A small collection of thirty one family
snapshots of Raymond Carver's early family life.
Language of Material:
Collection open for research.
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Raymond Carver photographs . MS 130. Special Collections and Archives, University Library,
University of California, Santa Cruz.
Purchased from James Carver in 2006.
Raymond Clevie Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon on May 25, 1938. In 1941 his family
moved to Yakima, where Carver grew up, graduating from Yakima High School in 1956. On June
7, 1957, he married 16 year old Maryann Burk, who had just graduated from high school. In
December of 1957 their first child, daughter Christine LaRae, was born. A son, Vance
Lindsay, was born in October of the following year.
For the next dozen years one or both of the young parents were enrolled in various colleges
and universities while holding a continuous succession of menial jobs. Carver wrote his
first story, "Furious Seasons," while a student at Chico State College in California. After
two years there, the family moved to Eureka, where he attended Humboldt State College,
eventually becoming editor of the campus literary magazine Toyon. In the spring of 1962
Western Humanities Review accepted "Pastoral" -- Carver's first story published. The very
same day, he received word that Target had accepted his poem "The Brass Ring" for
After graduating from Humboldt in February 1963, Carver moved to Berkeley, but by autumn
the family had moved to Iowa City so he could attend the two-year master's program of the
Writers' Workshop. They stayed only one year, however, before moving back to Sacramento,
California, where Carver's parents were living. Financial difficulties continued, but he
continued to write, and began to garner some success in getting work published. The next
several years found them moving often, ending up in the Bay Area by the late 1960's. In 1970
"Neighbors" became the first of Carver's stories to be accepted by a major magazine,
In 1971 he began teaching, despite finding it "a terrifying prospect." His first lecturer
position was at the University of California at Santa Cruz. The following year was at UC
Berkeley. During this time his drinking became more and more of a problem. In the 1973-74
academic year, he tried to teach at both the Iowa Writers' Workshop and at UCSC, without
either school being aware he was teaching at the other. Meanwhile, his first collection of
short stories, Put Yourself In My Shoes, appeared. Nonetheless, by the following year, when
he was to teach at UC Santa Barbara, his alcoholism made the situation untenable and he was
forced to resign. He continued a downward spiral, hospitalized for acute alcoholism on four
June 2, 1977, was called by Carver "the line of demarcation" between his "two lives": it
was then he had his last alcoholic drink. It was too late to save his family life (he and
Maryann eventually divorced but were already separated, and his children were estranged from
him), but he soon recovered his ability to teach and desire to write. By the 1978-79
academic year, he held a writer-in-residence position at the University of Texas, El Paso.
There he began a relationship with the poet Tess Gallagher, whom he had met the previous
year at a conference in Dallas. They moved in together January 1, 1979, and they stayed
together until his death in 1988. Jobs took them to Tuscon, Arizona, and then to Syracuse,
New York, where Carver had his first permanent teaching post. Throughout the 1980's he
continued to write stories and poems, enjoying ever-increasing success. Then in the fall of
1987 Carver was diagnosed with lung cancer, which by the next spring had spread to his
brain. In June of 1988 he and Tess were married in Reno, Nevada. They returned to their home
in Port Angeles, Washington, making only a brief trip to Alaska before Raymond Carver died
on August 2, 1988.
Scope and Content of Collection
A small collection of thirty one family snapshots of Raymond Carver and his family from his
earliest years to his death.
MS 131 Raymond Carver correspondence
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Carver, Raymond, 1938-1988