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Finding Aid for the Jim Tully papers, 1883-1952 [bulk dates 1920-1947]
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jim Tully papers
    Date (inclusive): 1883-1952 [bulk dates 1920-1947]
    Collection number: 250
    Creator: Tully, Jim
    Extent: 143 boxes (71.5 linear ft.) 11 oversize boxes
    Abstract: The collection documents the life and career of Irish American novelist and writer Jim Tully. The papers contain manuscripts of novels, short stories, articles, plays and celebrity profiles written by Tully, as well as research material for his varied interests, including pugilism, prison reform and capital punishment, hoboing, labor strikes and many other topics. There is extensive correspondence with Hollywood celebrities, directors, studio executives, literary figures, and family and friends, including one of Tully's mentors, H.L. Mencken. The papers also include photographs and personal material about family history, marriages and travel.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    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.

    Administrative Information

    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.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Mrs. Myrtle Zwetow Tully, March 1961.

    Processing Note

    Brieflisted by Simon Elliott, 1990; processed by Lilace Hatayama, Alisa Monheim and Bernadette Roca, 2005-2010.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jim Tully papers (Collection 250). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233892 


    Jim Tully (1886-1947) was an Irish American novelist and writer, born in St. Mary's, Ohio to Maria Bridget Lawler Tully and James Dennis Tully. After the death of his mother in 1892, Jim Tully was sent to an orphanage and later apprenticed to a farmer by his father. After running away, he returned to St. Mary's and worked various local jobs while developing a voracious reading habit. He traveled the country as a "road kid," hopped trains, worked carnivals, learned chainmaking and frequented public libraries during his travels. He boxed professionally and attempted a career as a reporter. He moved to California to follow boxing opportunities and began writing Emmet Lawler, rooted in his mother's family history in St. Mary's. After moving around the country for several years, he settled in California again in 1920. Through the efforts of Paul Bern, Tully found work as a publicist for Charlie Chaplin and continued work on his novel, which was published in 1922. Mentored by Rupert Hughes and H.L. Mencken, Tully established himself as a sought after author for such publications as Vanity Fair, Esquire and The American Mercury, as well as numerous fan magazines, including Photoplay, Screen Story, Screen Pictorial and Cinema Arts. He also wrote several novels, drawing heavily from his experiences on the road ( Beggars of Life, Circus Parade, The Bruiser) and in Hollywood ( Jarnegan). His career flourished throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The audience for his hard-boiled novels about society's underclass began to wane as the '30s drew to a close and he was overcome with health problems during the war years. He died on June 22, 1947.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of manuscripts for short stories, articles, novels, plays and celebrity profiles written by Jim Tully, as well as photographs, correspondence and personal material related to his public and private life. There is substantial correspondence with Rupert Hughes and H.L. Mencken, both of whom mentored Tully in the early stages of his career, as well as correspondence with many Hollywood celebrities, film directors and literary figures. Included in the papers are notes and articles on Charlie Chaplin, whom Tully worked with and later profiled in an unauthorized biography. There is also material related to Tully's interests in pugilism and the preeminent boxers of his day (Tully was a former boxer), prison reform, and hoboing.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Material collected by Jim Tully, including newspaper and magazine articles and ephemera by and about Jim Tully, brochures, programs and flyers collected by Jim Tully, caricatures, cartoons and images featuring Jim Tully, and research material organized by subject.
    2. Correspondence arranged by name of correspondent, including family, friends, celebrities, and literary figures.
    3. Correspondence and office files of Newcom and Tully, a talent agency in which Jim Tully's wife, Myrtle Zwetow Tully, was a partner.
    4. Personal material related to Jim Tully, his family, marriages, homes, and background
    5. Photographs, including Jim Tully with celebrities, famous boxers, literary figures, family
    6. Radio interviews and programs featuring Jim Tully
    7. Writings about Jim Tully by various writers concerning his work, friendships and life experience
    8. Writings by Jim Tully, including celebrity profiles, novels, plays, poetry, screenplays, interviews, short stories, articles and product endorsements
    9. Writings by others, including manuscripts sent to Jim Tully by other writers

    Indexing Terms

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


    Tully, Jim--Archives.
    Tully, Jim --Correspondence.
    Mencken, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956 --Correspondence.
    Hughes, Rupert, 1872-1956 --Correspondence.
    Authors, American --20th century --Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    manuscripts for publications.
    Film scripts.
    Radio plays.