Archival Collections
Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Walter Farley Papers, 1933-1993 bulk 1935-1970 

Farley, Walter, 1915-1989,.
Phys. Desc: 
21 linear feet (21 linear feet 49 document boxes 1 flat box)
Call Number: 
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Biographical Note

Walter Farley was born in 1915 in Syracuse, New York and raised in New York City. While he was still in high school he began to write The Black Stallion and during his college years at Columbia University, one of his teachers, Mable R. Robinson, worked with him and encouraged him to submit the manuscript to Random House. Random House published the book in 1941 and twenty more in The Black Stallion series, as well as thirteen other children's books. Walter Farley's books have been translated into twenty different languages including French, Italian, German, Danish, Japanese, Swedish, Russian, and Arabic. In 1979 The Black Stallion was made into a movie directed by Carroll Ballard and produced by Francis Ford Coppola. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards and was followed by a sequel The Black Stallion Returns. In addition to his books for young readers he published, How to Stay Out of Trouble with Your Horse: Some Basic Safety Rules to Help You Enjoy Riding, in 1981 with Doubleday, his only non-Random House publication. Walter Farley had four children with his wife Rosemary: Pam, Alice, Steve, and Tim. The Farley's maintained a farm in the Pennsylvania Dutch country near Earlville, Pennsylvania, and a beach home in Venice, Florida. Throughout his career Walter Farley enjoyed travelling to schools, horse shows, festivals, and libraries, giving lectures to inspire readers and horse lovers alike. In 1989 his local library in Venice, Florida, designated its children's wing the Walter Farley Literary Landmark. A permanent exhibit of Black Stallion memorabilia is on display there. His last book The Young Black Stallion, which he wrote with his son Steve, was published shortly after his death in 1989. In 2004, Disney made a movie version of The Young Black Stallion, which is considered a prequel to the first book.

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the life and work of Walter Farley, the American author of The Black Stallion series predominantly on horse stories for young readers. The collection includes original manuscripts and material related to the twenty novels he completed during his lifetime. The Walter Farley Papers mainly consist of research, notes, manuscripts and drafts of Farley's numerous books and short stories, both published and unpublished, speeches, photographs, press clippings, biographical information, and correspondence. The correspondence predominately encompasses fan letters but also contains letters from Farley's publisher, Random House, literary agents, foreign publishers, friends, horse trainers, and other professionals involved in the literary, arts, and equine fields. There are a few letters written to Rosemary Farley conveying condolences after Walter Farley's death. Also included in the collection are memorabilia, illustrations, photographs, advertisements, posters for Walter Farley's books, and The Black Stallion films, and scripts for the television series The Adventures of the Black Stallion. Information about horses and other animals owed by Farley are also in the collection.