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Harry W. Lawton papers
MS 122  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Contents
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Related Materials
  • Separated Materials
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Harry W. Lawton papers
    Date (inclusive): 1651-1996
    Date (bulk): 1960-1990
    Collection Number: MS 122
    Creator: Lawton, Harry W., 1927-2005
    Extent: 17.27 linear feet (13 boxes, 1 flat file folder)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: The Harry W. Lawton papers contain correspondence, press clippings, photographs, manuscripts, magazines, and other materials from Lawton's life and career. Lawton was an American writer, journalist, editor, and historian who wrote several books on Native Americans in Southern California, particularly in the Riverside and Banning areas. Part of the collection also consists of materials about Harry Lawton's son, Jonathan Fredrick Lawton, a screenplay writer. Harry Lawton's involvement with the University of Calfornia, Riverside, and Riverside community is evidenced in his work with the Malki Museum, citrus industry, indigenous groups, Riverside's Chinatown, and the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside, which Harry Lawton founded.
    Languages: The collection is in English.


    This collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright Unknown: Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction, and/or commercial use, of some materials may be restricted by gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing agreement(s), and/or trademark rights. Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], [date if possible]. Harry W. Lawton papers (MS 122). Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Harry Lawton, 2002.

    Processing History

    Processed by Serena Rodholm, Student Processing Assistant, 2019.
    Processing of the Harry W. Lawton papers was completed by undergraduate students from the University of California, Riverside as part of the Special Collections & University Archives Backlog Processing Project started in 2015. This project was funded by the UCR Library and administered by Jessica Geiser, Collections Management Librarian.

    Biographical Note

    Harry W. Lawton was a journalist, historian, author, and professor in Riverside County. Born in 1927, he grew up in Riverside, California. Harry Lawton received his degree from Riverside College and later attended the University of California, Berkeley. After owning the Haunted Bookstore in Berkeley, he left for Riverside in 1953 to become a journalist. He worked on local stories as a columnist for the Press Enterprise from the early 1950s to mid-1970s. In 1960 he published his book Willie Boy: A Desert Manhunt which was adapted in 1969 into the film Tell Them Willie Boy is Here starring, Robert Redford. The book told a version of the 1909 story of a Chemehuevi-Piute Native American from Banning, California who was accused of murder and eventually killed. Harry Lawton became a professor in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of California, Riverside in 1965, retiring in 1991. While at UC Riverside he focused on the citrus industry, helped with the excavation of Riverside's Chinatown, and founded the Creative Writing Department. He created the first annual Writer's Week in 1977 which continued to be a part of the UC Riverside creative writing program long after Lawton passed away. The event invites writers to give talks to students about their works and experiences as authors. Harry Lawton was involved with the Malki Museum in Banning and the non-profit Malki Museum Press as well as working alongside Native American civil rights groups. In 2005 he passed away at the age of 77 in Dana Point, California.
    Citation: McLellan, Dennis. "Harry W. Lawton, 77; Was Author, Historian and Former Journalist." latimes, 05 December 2005, http://articles.latimes.com/2005/dec/05/local/me-lawton5. Accessed 28 February 2019.

    Collection Scope and Contents

    This collection contains correspondence, newspapers, audio/visual material, and photographs relating to Harry Lawton, an American writer, journalist, editor, professor, and historian. He lived in and covered local topics related to Riverside County in southern California. Some of these topics include the Malki Museum, Chinatown excavation, and the Japanese American National Museum. One of his books was titled Willie Boy: A Desert Manhunt which was adapted into the film Tell them Willie Boy is Here. Some of the research for the book and the promotional material for the movie is included in the collection. Harry Lawton's son, Jonathan Fredrick Lawton (J.F.), also known as J.D. Athens, was a screenplay writer. There is newspaper coverage of his film screenplays, award programs, and manuscripts drafts for the film Pretty Woman. Harry Lawton's correspondence, assistance with ethnographer Carobeth Laird's work on The Chemehuevis, and other pieces written by Harry Lawton are under the series titled "personal". From 1994 to 1996 a lawsuit occurred between Harry Lawton and authors James Sandos and Larry Burgess. The materials concerning the case are within the final series. The lawsuit documents may be subject to restriction.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged into four series as follows:
    • Series 1. Lawton, Jonathan Fredrick (J.F.), 1984-1996
    • Series 2. Personal, 1651-1995
    • Series 3. University of California, Riverside, 1891-1991
    • Series 4. Willie Boy, 1935-1996

    Related Materials

    See also the Harry W. Lawton collection on Willie Boy (MS 152), Harry Lawton collection on Chinese in California (MS 153), and Sadakichi Hartmann papers (MS 068)

    Separated Materials

    Books donated with the collection have been separated for cataloging in Special Collections, searchable by title online as "Harry W. Lawton Papers".

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Citrus fruits -- Research
    Citrus -- Diseases and pests
    Science fiction films
    Chemehuevi Indians
    Cahuilla Indians
    Malki Museum

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Clippings (information artifacts)