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David Morrell Papers

Identifier: MsC0478

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Scope and Contents

They consist of approximately seven linear feet of papers dating from 1974 to 1999. The papers are arranged alphabetically by folder title within each subsequent year's addition. Included are typescript drafts of some of his novels, including The Fifth Profession, Blood Oath, and Fireflies. There are also drafts of scripts and teleplays written by Morrell and others, including various Rambo scripts written by the actor Sylvester Stallone. Video tapes, audio tapes, research notes, book reviews, and interviews make up the rest of the collection.


  • Creation: 1974-1999


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Copyright note from David Morrell:

I grant permission to authors and publishers of commercial publications to quote from those Deed-of-Gift items that are under my or my estate’s copyright control. The content-controlled items include all letters by me. This permission is subject to “fair use” standards with regard to direct quotation. The intention here is to assist writers of biographies and scholarly works (by way of example but not exclusively).

For broader permissions please speak with Special Collections staff as they can provide the appropriate contact information to Mr. Morrell's literary executor. -7/25/2019

Biographical / Historical

David Morrell was born in Kitchener, Ontario, on April 24, 1943. He earned a B.A. in English from St. Jerome's College at the University of Waterloo in Ontario in 1966. The following year he received his M.A. from Pennsylvania State University. He was awarded his Ph.D. from Penn State in 1970, with a degree in American literature. Morrell taught American literature in the English department of the University of Iowa from 1970 to 1986. A full professor since 1977, David Morrell retired from teaching in 1986 to pursue a full-time career as a fiction writer. He published his first novel, First Blood, in 1972. He is best known for his fast-paced action adventures which introduced the character Rambo. Many of his novels have been adapted for film and television. In 1987, Morrell wrote Fireflies, an account of his 15-year-old son Matthew's death from cancer. In 1992, after 22 years in Iowa City, the Morrells moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he continues to write and publish.


21.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Born in Ontario 1943, awarded a PhD in American literature by Pennsylvania State University in 1970, taught at Iowa from 1970 to 1986, retired to write. Perhaps best known for Rambo, the central character of his 1972 novel First Blood, which lead to the Rambo films starring Sylvester Stallone, Morrell has written numerous novels as well as screen- and teleplays. The growing collection of his papers includes video and audio tapes as well as research notes, correspondence, and manuscripts.

Method of Acquisition

The papers of David Morrell are on deposit at the University of Iowa, placed by Mr. Morrell over a period of years beginning in 1988. The collection of David Morrell papers is still growing with his periodic deposits.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)