Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Vasquez, Richard E. mss., ca. 1960-1984, consist of the papers of Chicano author and journalist Richard E. Vasquez (1928-1990). Vasquez's novel Chicano (Doubleday, 1970) was the first novel about Mexican-Americans released by a major publisher, and helped establish him as a significant figure on the Chicano literary scene. That same year he began to write regularly for the Los Angeles Times, covering Chicano affairs and human rights issues. Vasquez, who dropped out of high-school to fight in WWII, returned home to work in construction, then began driving a taxi full time. His first stories were human interest newspaper columns based on his experiences as a cabbie. Beginning in 1960, he worked on Chicano for ten years. In spite of his initial success, his subsequent career was marked by struggle and rejection as the notion of "Chicano writing" became increasingly radicalized. Nevertheless, his novel is now considered a classic in the field, and was reissued in 2005 as a Harper Perennial. In addition to Chicano, he published two other novels, The Giant Killer (1978) and Another Land (1982).

The archive includes a broad range of typescripts, galley proofs, extensive correspondence, contracts, TV proposals, clippings, reviews, and much unpublished material, including a chapter of Chicano not present in the final printed version.

Acquired: 2011

Collection size: 500 items

NOTE: Access to this collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information.

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.