Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Walter Farley Papers, 1933-1993, bulk 1935-1970

Summary Information


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.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0411
Bib ID 4078749 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Farley, Walter, 1915-1989
Title Walter Farley Papers, 1933-1993, bulk 1935-1970
Physical Description 21 linear feet (49 document boxes 1 flat box)
Language(s) English .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.



This collection has been arranged into five series.



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consist of research, notes, manuscripts and drafts of Farley's numerous books and short stories, both published and unpublished, speeches, photographs, press clippings, biographical information, and correspondence.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.

  • Series I: Writings, 1935-1991

    This series contains drafts and other documents relating to Farley's books.

  • Series II: The Black Stallion Movie, 1956-1983

    This series concerns the movie adaptation of The Black Stallion. Materials relate to all aspects of the film and include drafts of the screenplay; research files; information on horses starring in the movie including Cass Ole, the horse that played the Black Stallion, and correspondence with his trainers; correspondence with director Carroll Ballard, the film's producers, and the actors; fan letters; movie stills; files on merchandising and advertising; and newspaper clippings and articles.

  • Series III: General, 1993

    This series contains a wide variety of materials and relates to both Farley's career and his personal life. There is a large amount of correspondence between Farley and publishers, fans, and friends. There are also research notes, contract information, occasional pages from drafts, files on racehorses, publicity materials, among others. Some files include photographs.

  • Series IV: Contests, 1941-1988

    This series relates to contests (usually essay or writing contests) held by Farley, which sometimes offered horses as prizes. Files include correspondence with winners, photographs, contest rules, and clippings.

  • Series V: Photographs and Negatives, 1961-1969

    This series contains photographs and negatives of Walter Farley, horses, and dogs. More photographs can also be found throughout the collection and have been identified in the contents list.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Walter Farley Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 06/--/89.

Papers processed Boni Joi Koeliker, Pratt Institute, 2013 Clare O'Dowd, Pratt Institute, 2012 2012.

Finding aid written Boni Joi Koeliker, Pratt Institute, 2013 July 2012.

Revision Description

2014-01-21 xml document instance created by Carolyn Smith

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
American literature -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Authors, American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ballard, Carroll Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Children's authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Children's books Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Children's literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Close, Glenn, 1947- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Coppola, Carmine, 1910-1991 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Coppola, Francis Ford, 1939- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dalva, Robert, 1942- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Deschanel, Caleb, 1944- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Deschanel, Emily, 1976- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Deschanel, Zooey, 1980- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Draper, Angie Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Dressage Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Farley, Rosemary Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Farley, Walter, 1915-1989 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fisher, Elizabeth Ingersoll, 1815-1872 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Grant, Chuck Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Horse racing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Mathison, Melissa Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Random House (Firm) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reno, Kelly, 1966- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Roos, Fred Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Zoetrope Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

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.