crown CU Home > Libraries Home
Columbia University Libraries Archival CollectionsRare Book & Manuscript Library Collections

   Walter Farley Papers, 1933-1993 [Bulk: 1935-1970]

Download and Print CitationContact Bookmark Share

Preferred Citation

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

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

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:31.5 linear ft. (27 document boxes, 22 record cartons, 1 flat box).
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



This collection has been arranged into five series:

Return to top


Scope and Content

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consist of research, notes, manuscripts and drafts of Farley's numerous books and short stories, both published and unpublished, speeches, photographs, press clippings, biographical information, and correspondence.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

Subseries I.1: Drafts, 1935-1991

This subseries contains drafts of all twenty Black Stallion novels, as well as drafts of The Great Dane Thor, Man 'O War, Larry and the Undersea Rider, The Horse that Swam Away, How to Stay Out of Trouble with Your Horse, and several episodes of the Adventures of the Young Black Stallion TV series. Files typically contain multiple drafts, some with annotations from editors, as well as letters to editors. It has been organized by title.

Subseries I.2: General, 1941-1986

This subseries contains additional information on several of the Black Stallion novels and stories. It contains some additional drafts as well as research notes and articles, book illustration sketches, correspondence, and clippings.

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.

Return to top

Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

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

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; 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.

Finding Aid available in repository and online; folder level control.

PDF available.

Return to top

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Cataloged 06/--/89 Christina Hilton Fenn

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

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

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion January 21, 2014 Finding aid written in English. Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.
    2014-01-21 xml document instance created by Carolyn Smith

Return to top

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.


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

Return to top

History / Biographical Note

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.

Return to top