Skip to main content

Walter Thomas Bezzi papers

 Collection
Call Number: RH MS 1552

Overview

This collection consists of several journals owned by Walter Thomas Bezzi, late 20th century author and magazine editor who lived in Wichita, Kansas and California. The collection also includes correspondence, manuscript drafts of many of his works, and some personal papers.

Dates

  • Creation: 1971 - 1995

Creator

Language of Materials

The bulk of the collection is in English; some materials may be in German or Japanese kanji.

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Walter Thomas Bezzi (1950-1995)

Walter Thomas "Tom" or "Tommy" Bezzi was born in Elk City, Oklahoma in 1950. The family lived in California for a while and then moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1959. His father, Rocky Bezzi, was a professor of elementary education at Wichita State University, and his mother Betty Thomas Howell, was a piano teacher. His parents eventually divorced, and both remarried, Betty to Red Howell. Tom Bezzi's younger sister, Kathy, married David Disney, and they had two sons, Elliott and Louis.

Tom Bezzi studied at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Kansas (where he received a bachelors in English with honors in 1972), San Francisco State University (where he received a masters in English in 1978), and the Fredrich Wilhelms Universit├Ąt in Bonn, Germany. Bezzi spent much of his adult life in California, particularly at what he called the "Casa del Sol" in West Hollywood.

Bezzi was an editor and author in several different media, including writing magazine articles and short stories. His play Dearly Beloved, about the relationships between an 18th century castrato and harpsichordist, who marries a soprano, was produced at the Old Globe Theatre in West Hollywood, California. He is probably best known for his novel Hubble Time (1987), a fictionalized accounting of the lives of Edwin and Grace Hubble and their circle of friends that included Aldous Huxley and Anita Loos. Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) was a significant astronomer of the early 20th century, spending most of his career at Mount Wilson Observatory near Pasadena, CA. While the Hubbles had no children, Bezzi's accounting of their lives relied on a fictionalized granddaughter named Jane, whose father was named Rocky in the book. Bezzi was working on another longer piece called "Evolution: An AIDS Journey" soon before his death.

Bezzi was a founding member of Tread Lightly, a national nonprofit organization for protecting the environment focused on protecting recreation access and outdoor opportunities in an ethical manner while providing good stewardship for the environment. He was also a board member for Project Angel Food, a nonprofit group based in Los Angeles, CA that prepares and delivers free meals for individuals who are impacted by serious illness.

Tom Bezzi died from complications from AIDS in March 1995.

Extent

11 Linear Feet (12 boxes + 2 oversize boxes)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the personal papers of writer and magazine editor Walter Thomas Bezzi. The bulk of the collection consists of manuscript drafts and related materials for short pieces and longer works he wrote, mostly notably related to his novel Hubble Time and his play Dearly Beloved. The collection also includes his handwritten journals dating from 1975-1985, incoming correspondence from friends and family from the 1970s-1990s, and some personal papers. The personal papers largely relate to AIDS and HIV, both generally and Bezzi's specific illness.

Arrangement

The collection has been organized into 4 series: Journals, which are further organized chronologically; Correspondence, which has been sorted alphabetically by name; Writings, which are in rough chronological order; and Personal papers, which are also roughly in chronological order.

Physical Location

RH MS 1552

Physical Location

RH MS 1580

Physical Location

RH MS Q503

Physical Location

RH MS R518

Physical Location

RH MS R534

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Kathy Disney, 1998, 2016.

Source

Subject

Title
Guide to the Walter Thomas Bezzi Collection
Subtitle
Walter Thomas Bezzi journals
Author
Finding aid prepared by mwh, 2022. Finding aid encoded by mwh, 2022. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2023.
Date
2022-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
https://hdl.handle.net/10407/6021680218
Preferred citation
Walter Thomas Bezzi papers, RH MS 1552, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

Contact:
1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States
785-864-4334