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Special Collections Online at UT

James Long Cormac McCarthy Collection

Identifier: MS-4028

  • Staff Only

This collection contains correspondence from Cormac McCarthy written to his friend James "Jim" Long in Knoxville, TN. Also includes a photograph and book.

Collection includes:

  • Inscribed first edition of Suttree.
  • Postcard from McCarthy in Paris, 1965.
  • Postcard from McCarthy in Ireland, 1965.
  • Letter from McCarthy in El Paso, Texas, 1977.
  • Postcard from McCarthy in Argentina, 1986.
  • Postcard from McCarthy in Ireland, 1991.
  • Postcard from McCarthy in Spain, 1992.
  • Letter from McCarthy in Knoxville, 2012.
  • Postcard from McCarthy in Spain, undated.
  • Photograph of Cormac McCarthy and James Long, undated.


  • 1965-2012

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact Special Collections.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 quarter box)


This collection contains correspondence from Cormac McCarthy written to his friend James "Jim" Long in Knoxville, TN. Also includes a photograph of the two, and an inscribed first edition of McCarthy's novel Suttree.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Joseph “Cormac” McCarthy Jr. was born July 20, 1933 in Providence, Rhode Island to Charles Joseph and Gladys Christina McGrail McCarthy. He was the third of six children, the eldest son. Cormac is Gaelic for Charles and was used by the family to refer both to him and to his father. In 1937, he and his family relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, where his father worked as a lawyer and, later, as chief legal counsel for the Tennessee Valley Authority. McCarthy attended St. Mary's Parochial School and Knoxville Catholic High School.

McCarthy enrolled in the University of Tennessee in 1951 but left a few years later to join the U.S. Air Force. He returned in 1957, where he majored in English, but never completed his degree. He had two short stories published in the Phoenix, the campus literary magazine - “A Wake for Susan” (1959 inaugural issue) and “A Drowning Incident” (1960). McCarthy left college in 1960 to pursue writing full time.

His first novel, The Orchard Keeper (1965), received positive reviews and won the William Faulkner Award. In 1979, McCarthy published his semiautobiographical novel Suttree, which he had written over 20 years before, based on his experiences in Knoxville during the 1950s.

A MacArthur Fellowship enabled McCarthy to travel to Texas, where he researched and wrote his fifth novel, Blood Meridian (1985). He experienced widespread success with All the Pretty Horses (1992), for which he received both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was followed by The Crossing (1994) and Cities of the Plain (1998) which completed The Border Trilogy.

Several of his novels were successfully adapted into film including The Road which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The film adaptation of his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men received four Academy Awards.

McCarthy was married three times: Lee Holleman (1961-divorced 1962); Anne DeLisle (1966-divorced 1981); and Jennifer Winkley (1997-divorced 2006). He fathered two sons: Cullen with Holleman and John with Winkley.

In The Passenger and Stella Maris (2022), McCarthy returned to the site of Oak Ridge Tennessee for the setting of what would be his final novels. McCarthy passed away on June 13, 2023 at the age of 89.

James William Long (1930-2012) was a lifelong resident of Knoxville, TN. He and Cormac McCarthy were childhood friends and remained in contact until Long’s death in 2012. Long was a member of Holy Ghost Catholic Church on North Central Street. Prior to a career with the Knox County Penal Farm, Long worked as manager of Butler’s Shoe Store in Downtown Knoxville. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Long was an instrumental character in McCarthy's novel Suttree (1979), with his family, address, and phone number all making an appearance in the book.


This collection is stored in one box and items are ordered chronologically.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA