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The James Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community and the Natural World: Home

General Information


15th & Detroit

 Box 41041

Lubbock, Texas 79409

Phone: (806) 742-3749


Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Notice:  The Reading Room is open by appointment only.

Contact Us

Dr. Diane Warner



Kristin Loyd

Unit Manager


Molly Lieb

Archival Associate


Access and Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in collections, or their descendants, as stipulated by U.S. copyright law. Copy requests are limited, and users are responsible for obtaining permissions for use. Audio, video, film recordings, and computer files may  not be immediately accessible due to format, condition, or copyright status. Some items must be digitized prior to use.

About the Collection

Barry Lopez speaks at the 2013 Annual Sowell Collection Conference

The Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community and the Natural World contains the personal papers of some of the country's most prominent writers on the natural world. Writers in the Sowell Collection have received numerous honors including a National Book Award, a MacArthur Genius Award, Stegner Fellowships, John Burroughs Awards, and numerous awards for literary and scientific writing.

Many of the writers have strong ties to Texas and their stories, essays, and poems are infused with Texas landscapes, people, birds and animals. Others have written extensively about their experiences in such far-flung places as Greenland, Egypt, Lebanon, Rwanda, Namibia, and Japan. Their topics range from cross-country skiing to canoeing and kayaking, from climate change to butterfly migration, from gardening in the desert to deer hunting in the Texas Hill country. These important American writers are deeply engaged with questions of land use and the nature of community, the conjunction of scientific and spiritual values, and the fragility of wilderness.

Texas Tech University students and faculty, visiting scholars and the general public are invited to conduct research in the collection. Since 2012, this research has been showcased in the Sowell Collection's annual conference, which attracts a diverse community of presenters from the US and internationally. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the annual conference will not be held on campus this year, but will be replaced by a series of virtual readings.

The Sowell Collection continues to add new writers and new material to their holdings, processing over 25 collections in the past 5 years. Texas Tech University remains grateful to former TTU Regent James E. Sowell and his family for their generous support of this collection.

Useful Links

Sowell Collection Website

Explore the Collection through links to the writers' individual pages, their biographies, publications, and collection finding aids.

Sowell Collection Blog

Find book reviews, collection previews, event updates, and insight into the archival process.

Texas Archival Resources Online

Browse finding aids and identify materials for research.

How to Use a Finding Aid

Learn what a finding aid is and how to successfully navigate one.

Related Resources

Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE)

ASLE is an intellectual community of professors, writers and artists, environmental educators and activists, and students interested in the environmental humanities and arts. Resources available through ASLE include the organization's journal ISLE, a guide to literary journals and magazines in the field, a guide to archives, repositories and digital portals, and organizations supporting research in the environmental humanities and arts.

Western Literature Association (WLA)

WLA is a scholarly organization that promotes the study of the literature and cultures of the North American West, often emphasizing environmental and social justice. Resources available through WLA include the organization's journal WAL, a syllabus exchange, and a guide to affiliated organizations.