Larry McMurtry’s Typewriters
AUTHOR USED PORTABLE HERMES 3000s TO WRITE ‘LONESOME DOVE’
“I have had the same postal box for sixty-seven years,” Larry McMurtry writes in Literary Life: A Second Memoir, his 2009 autobiography. “My family’s first phone number in Archer City was 9. On the ranch we still fed cattle out of a wagon. I write on a typewriter. I come, not just from a different time, but from a different era.”
It was in 1972 that McMurtry first developed the tale for his novel Lonesome Dove. Originally intended for a feature film, the story was shelved for 10 years until McMurtry returned to his typewriters and completed his story. The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was adapted as the classic 1989 mini-series starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duval.
Speaking 20 years later, upon winning the Golden Globe for co-writing the screenplay adaptation of Brokeback Mountain, McMurtry acknowledged the key role of his writing tools, promising to give a “big, wet kiss” to his Hermes 3000 typewriter.
McMurtry, who also penned The Last Picture Show (1966) and Terms of Endearment (1975), is offering his two Hermes 3000 portable typewriters at Heritage’s Rare Books auction scheduled for March 8-9, 2017, in New York. He kept one in his Washington, D.C., residence and the second at his Texas home in Archer City.
“It was on these typewriters that McMurtry wrote his opus, Lonesome Dove,” says James Gannon, Heritage Auction’s director of rare books. “It’s been said that the verisimilitude and humanity of works like Lonesome Dove would have remained in his imagination if he had not put in the work that his typewriters called him to do.”
Also offered in the auction is Mark Twain’s stagecoach trunk, marked “Property of Samuel L. Clemens.”
“Clemens purchased this stagecoach trunk in 1867 in St. Louis,” Gannon says. “This trunk followed him on his travels throughout the world for the next 43 years, until he passed away in 1910.”