Malcolm Lowry Collection

Identity elements

Reference code

US TxSaT SC.043

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Malcolm Lowry Collection


  • 1925-1984 (Creation)


Name of creator


Biographical history

Clarence Malcolm Lowry was born in New Brighton, Wirral, England in 1909, the son of a cotton broker. Lowry attended the Leys School in Cambridge, a boarding school, in his teenage years. Lowry defied family expectations to enter the family business, and convinced his father to allow him to work as a deckhand on a steam sheep. He sailed for five months on the S.S. Pyrrhus in 1927. Upon his return Lowry enrolled at St. Catharine's College in Cambridge in 1929, and graduated in 1931 with a degree in English.

Lowry married his first wife, Jan Gabrial, in 1934 in France. Their relationship was turbulent due to his alcoholism, and when Gabrial left Lowry he followed her to New York City. There he spent time at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in 1936. The couple later moved to Mexico, and Gabrial left Lowry permanently in 1937. Lowry was deported from Mexico in 1938, and moved to Los Angeles. There he met his second wife, Margerie Bonner. Later that year Lowry moved to Vancouver, and Bonner later joined him. In 1944 Lowry was badly injured in an attempt to save his manuscripts from a fire that destroyed their home. In 1954, the Lowrys resumed a nomadic lifestyle, spending time in New York, London, and Europe; Lowry was an abusive spouse during this time period. Lowry died in June 1957 in a cottage the couple was renting in Sussex, England. The death was ruled accidental, caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, barbiturate poisoning, and aspiration of stomach contents. Some sources have speculated that his death was a suicide or murder at the hands of his wife.

Lowry published two novels during his lifetime: "Ultramarine" (1933) and "Under the Volcano" (1947). Several works were published posthumously, including "Lunar Caustic" (1968), "Dark as the Grave Wherein my Friend is Laid" (1968), and "October Ferry to Gabriola" (1970). Lowry also published numerous poems, short stories, and essays.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Malcolm Lowry Collection contains all books by Lowry in all their hardcover and paperback editions available as of 1983. Nearly all Lowry contributions to both books and periodicals are included as well. Numerous translations of the works into other languages are part of the collection. Books about Lowry, books in which he is mentioned, and other books relating to him, notably those of Conrad Aiken, are included. This finding aid describes the non-book materials in the collection that are not listed in the library catalog.

System of arrangement

Materials in this collection have been arranged by type. Series 1 consists of periodicals containing short stories, poems, and essays by Lowry, arranged chronologically by publication date. Series 2 consists of photocopies of material contributed by Lowry to periodicals, arranged by publication title. Series 3 consists of periodicals with material about Lowry, arranged by title. Series 4 contains the initial run of the "Malcolm Lowry Newsletter." Series 5 contains miscellaneous materials, and Series 6 contains material related to film, television, and radio adaptations of Lowry's work.

For the most part, the arrangement of this materials retains the original order from when the collection was first purchased in 1983. Items in Series 1 and Series 3 are shelved with the monographs in the collection unless otherwise noted.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open and available to the public for research in the Special Collections & Archives reading room. The materials are non-circulating.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The materials in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

Languages of the material

  • English
  • French
  • Spanish

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased as a collection by Coates Library in 1983 from J. Howard Woolmer Rare Books.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Malcolm Lowry Collection, University of British Columbia Library:

Related descriptions

Notes element

General note

Monographs in this collection can be searched in the library catalog, and are listed in a bibliography that can be found at

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Malcolm Lowry Collection. Coates Library Special Collections & Archives, Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas).

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions


Sources used

Archivist's note

Processed by Colleen Hoelscher, June 2022.

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Accession area