MsC 767

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates: 1985 -- 2003
.25 linear ft.

This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900

Posted to Internet: May 2004

Acquisition Note: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries in 2004 by Robert Hamry.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research. Note, however, that copyright in Grealy's work is retained by her family. Prior permissions may be required before photocopies or other reproductions can be supplied.

Photographs: Box 1, folder 5

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Abbreviations: For an explanation of the abbreviation and dating conventions used in the finding aid, please see Abbreviations.

Biographical Note

Lucy Grealy (1963 -- 2002) was born to an Irish family -- her father at one point directed all television programming in Ireland -- but she lived her relatively brief life primarily in England and the United States.  She attended Sarah Lawrence and came to the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop for a graduate degree, 1985 -- 1987.  She published two books: Autobiography of a Face (1994) and As Seen on TV: Provocations (2000) and contributed an essay, "Mirrors," to Patricia Foster (ed.), Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul (Anchor Books, 1994).  Grealy's life was shaped by childhood cancer that disfigured her face and led to a long series of operations intended to reconstruct her jaw and otherwise reduce or repair the disfigurement.  At least in part, this lead her to severe drug dependence and thus to her death by drug overdose at the age of 39. 

Scope and Contents

While a student in the Workshop, Grealy roomed with a Workshop student (and fellow Sarah Lawrence graduate) Ann Patchett, and she had a close association with another Workshop student, Robert Hamry.  The materials in the current collection were the gift of Robert Hamry in March -- April 2004 and later.  They include Grealy letters; drafts of her poems and other writing; clippings and photocopies about Grealy and her writing; photographs; and related materials.

Related materials

For a brief account of Grealy's life, see: Ann Patchett. "The Celebrated Life and Sudden Death of Lucy Grealy". New York, March 3, 2003. (Photocopy in this collection).  This article has been expanded to Patchett's book,  Truth & Beauty: A Friendship (New York: HarperCollins, 2004).

Grealy published at least the following poems: " Five Poems." Ploughshares 11:1 (1985) p.104. 9p.; " Ward 10." Paris Review 121 (1991) p.124; "Shame." Ploughshares 18:4 (1992/1993: Winter) p.151. 2p.; " X Marks the Spot." Ploughshares 18:4 (1992/1993: Winter) p.150. 1p.; " When It Happens." Ploughshares 18:4 (1992/1993: Winter) p.151. 1p.; " MIRRORINGS: To gaze upon my reconstructed face." Harper's 286:1713 (1993) p. 66. 6p; and "The Emanation of Pain" (Lucy Grealy, Reynolds Price, Marc J. Straus, Paul West) in Parnassus: poetry in review 20 (1995). p. 238

She won numerous literary awards, including two Academy of American Poets prizes, a Times Literary Supplement poetry prize, the Sonora Review Poetry Prize, and the 1995 Whiting Writer's Award. Her master's theseis, Everyday Alibis (1988), contains poems and a novel. She contributed to Best American Essays, 1994 and poetry and articles to periodicals, including Times Literary Supplement.

Inventory: Please note: The poems and draft writings in this collection are unfinished fragments that Grealy herself would not have distributed; and copyright to her work rests with her family. Consequently the materials may be consulted on site, but we cannot provide photocopies to off-site readers. Please consult her published work as identified above.

Folder 1. Writing by LG (Typed or computer output drafts; the first line of untitled poems is recorded in italics):

"The Magician's Assistant's Guilty Dream". 1p.

A small day, growing smaller. 2p.

"The man walking by". 1p.

Thirteen oak doors in the house . 1p.

"What the roof had to say". 1p.

The plans to meet my mother . 1p.

"Elegy". 1p.

[Poems and prose fragments]. 14p (15 sheets) of computer output on paper perforated for tractor feed.

Folder 2. [The contents of a spring-back binder LG is said by RH to have carried constantly; the contents are drafts of LG poems (in each case, there is a typescript and a photocopy)]:

"stories from the train". 1p.

"Something Else". 1p.

"My Brother". 1p.

"Untitled". 1p.

"Ferrying horses". 1p.

[and miscellaneous:]

"Frankly, what's killing me about this marriage is realizing how entirely preventable it was." Cartoon clipped from The New Yorker. Autograph note by LG.

"Vogue's View. " Page torn from an issue of Vogue magazine with first part of an article, "Keeping fit: walking to work in sneakers.." The verso contains an advertisement for diamonds.

Frank Stanford. Crib Death. (Ironwood Press, c1978).  A volume of poetry photocopied by LG, two copies.

Folder 3. Clippings and Photocopies:

LG, "Mirrors" in Patricia Foster, editor. Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul (New York: Anchor Books, 1994), p53-73. With a poem by Elizabeth Jennings, "Mirrors," 1955, clipped from a periodical (Encounter? 1980s?).

Elizabeth Stone. "Examining, and Easing, the Anxiety of Authorship." New York Times, March 27, 2001. LG is pictured and mentioned.

"'The Exwife' by John Currin". Image of a painting of LG shown in "Recent Acquisitions" exhibition at Museum of Modern Art. Clipped from New York Times, December 2, 2001. 2 copies.

Poems by John Berger, W.B. Yeats, and Edgar Allan Poe photocopied on one page.

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Lucy Grealy, 39, Who Wrote a Memoir on Her Disfigurement." Obituary clipped from New York Times .

Ann Patchett. "The Celebrated Life and Sudden Death of Lucy Grealy." New York, March 3, 2003. Photocopied article.

Jocelyn McClurg. "Beloved friend shines through another's prose." USA Today, May 11, 2004. Clipped reviews of Patchett's Truth & Beauty: A Friendship.

"Letters" column from New York , March 24, 2003, with reactions to Patchett article. 2p.

Mark Matousek. "A Splinter of Love". Tricycle, Fall 2003. Photocopied article.

Images of women whose faces resemble LG's. Clipping from a magazine and a photocopy of a magnzine page, sources not known.

Folder 4. Photographs: These photographs are candid (not studio) images; most are not sharply focused and in only eight of them is LG's face partially visible. None add substantially to portrait images already easily available on the internet. The two sharpest images are reproduced below.

LG. 21 3.5x6 inch color prints; 2 5x7 inch color prints.

RH. 1 b&w print, captioned on verso: "Hamry at the Auction / Iowa 85".

LG and RH. 3.5x6 inch color print, blurred, of LG and RH sitting on steps of a house; taken from some distance and details are not sharp.

Ann Patchett. 3.5x6 inch color print standing in front of house at 226 South Governor Street, captioned on verso: "Ann Patchett, 1985 Iowa ".

1948 drop-head Jaguar coupe (automobile) & 1960 MGA, cars driven in Iowa City by LG. 7x10 inch color print. RH note: The Jaguar was initially owned by William Paley (CBS television) and driven by his wife who later gave the car to Kim Merker's mother, who in turn gave it to Merker, from whom RH purchased it in the early 1980s.

RH leaning against the Jaguar. 8x10 inch color print.

Folder 5. Memorabilia.

Ben Reynolds, Kendra Kopelke & William G. Durden. Writing Instruction for Verbally Talented Youth: The Johns Hopkins Model. An Aspen Publication, 1984. Used by Grealy as an instructor in the Johns Hopkins summer program, 1988; some annotation.

Iowa Writers' Workshop Golden Jubilee, 1988. Two lapel pins.

Folder 6. Letters from LG to RH:

December 25, [19]85. ALS, 1p, on square-ruled paper, left edge torn but not affecting text. "Merry Christmas Hamry."

feb 2, 1990. TLS, 1p, on half sheet. "Dearest Hamry, Thanks for finally letting me know you weren't dead .."

Jan 13th, 1992. TLS, 3p. ""Well, well, what a surprise to hear from you again."

Jan 24th, 1992. TLS, 3p. "Dear Hamry, I have to say I'm surprised by your letter."

January 27th, 1992. TLS, 1p. "Dear Hamry, I wanted to acknowledge that I got two more pieces of mail from you today.."

April 14, 1992 (changed in ink to April 21). TLS, 1p. "Dear Hamry, I did indeed receive the Prisig book and tape.."


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