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Max Allan Collins papers

Identifier: MsC0500

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Scope and Contents

The papers of Max Allan Collins consist of thirty-eight linear feet (26 boxes) of manuscripts dating from 1967-1996, which document his career as an author, filmmaker, and comic strip writer. The collection in divided into six separate series: General Subject Files; Comics; Dick Tracy; Novels; Screenplays; and Mickey Spillane.
The general subject files include a wide variety of materials from biographical sketches, interviews and correspondence to essays, short stories, and reviews, and are arranged alphabetically by the folder title. The second series concentrates on Collins' comic strip works. Most of the items in this section are in chronological order. The different projects here include Batman and Mickey Spillane's Mike Danger. The Ms. Tree comics that Collins created with Terry Beatty are well documented. There are folders of artwork, correspondence, and promotional material, as well as drafts of the comic strips and their respective scripts.
The Dick Tracy material for both Dick Tracy comic strips and novels is housed in four boxes (series 3). The Dick Tracy comics are represented with artwork, correspondence, promotional material, various drafts of the pre-comic narratives, and final versions of the comic strip scripts. The Dick Tracy novels include one based on a screenplay and Dick Tracy: The Secret Files, which includes an introduction by Collins and drafts of chapter typescripts by various other writers. Dick Tracy Casebook, Dick Tracy Goes to War, and Dick Tracy Meets his Match are all included in varying degrees of detail.
Series 4 (14 boxes) includes materials on his novels. The book manuscripts range from correspondence and research to typescript drafts at various stages of completion and printers' typescripts to galley and page proofs. His Nathan Heller, Mallory, and Nolan and John novels are all represented in great detail. The novels he adapted from other media, such as Maverick and Waterworld are included in this series, as are books that he co-authored, such as The Best of Crime and Detective TV.
The fifth series is made up of his screenplays. The films Mommy and Mommy's Day are in this section. The material documenting The Expert includes thirty-six different typescript versions of the screenplay. Screenplays by others are also in this section. The final series relates to Mickey Spillane. There are typescript drafts of essays, and reviews by Collins. The majority of this section consists of mystery story submissions by other authors, including Ed Gorman, Barb D'Amato, Jeremiah Healy, and Andrew Greeley for Murder Is My Business, edited by Collins and Spillane.


  • Creation: 1967-1996


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. This collection is stored at an offsite location. When requesting materials, please allow two business days for items to arrive at the Special Collections reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

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


69.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Author, filmmaker, and comic strip writer. The papers document his film and literary career. His novels, comics (including Dick Tracy and Ms. Tree), and screenplays are represented in various forms of completion, with typescript drafts, artwork, correspondence, research, galley proofs, and promotional material.

Source of Acquisition

Max Allan Collins deposited his papers with the Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa Libraries in August 1997.

Dick Kolbet, 1998
Language of description
Script of description

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)