Skip to main content

George V. Higgins archive

Identifier: SCU-RBSC-2003-4

This finding aid documents the life and works of American author George V. Higgins (1939-1999) found in the Higgins Archive at the University of South Carolina. The archive is a comprehensive collection of the author’s manuscripts and personal papers acquired in 2003 from the Higgins family. George V. Higgins, the author of The Friends of Eddie Coyle and 25 other novels, wrote gripping, ultra-realistic stories about individuals in crisis: criminals, police officers, lawyers and politicians. His work has been cited as an influence by authors ranging from Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy to David Mamet. His first published novel, the bestselling The Friends of Eddie Coyle, was hailed by The Observer as one of the top 20 American novels of the 20th century. In addition, Higgins wrote 4 nonfiction books, scores of short stories, newspaper and feature-length magazine journalism, literary criticism and book reviews, and hundreds of columns for major newspapers in Boston, Washington, D.C. and the Wall Street Journal. This itemization does not take into account his parallel careers as a prosecutor and U.S. Attorney, a lawyer in private practice and a professor and teacher of writing. Series 9 includes documentation of his legal work on behalf of G. Gordon Liddy and Eldridge Cleaver in the 1970s. The Higgins Archive contains documentation of all these activities, and is organized into the series noted below. Additional notes and description occur at the beginning of each series in finding aid. Many of Higgins’s original folder titles, especially in the subject files series, remain and have been placed in quotation marks to distinguish them from supplied folder titles. Henceforward, Higgins will be abbreviated as GVH.


  • 2003


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All rights reside with the estate of the creator. Materials in this collection are not to be reproduced without written permission from Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina.


123 boxes (140 cubic feet)


November 13, 1939 Born in Brockton, Massachusetts.

1957-1961 Boston College, A.B.

1961-1962 Stanford University (M.A., 1965).

1962-1963 Reporter, Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin (RI).

1963-1966 Correspondent, reporter, editor – Associated Press.

1964-1967 Boston College Law School, J.D.

1967 Legal assistant, Department of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1967-1968 Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1969-1970 Assistant Attorney General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1970-1973 Assistant United States Attorney, District of Massachusetts.

1971-1972 Instructor in trial practice, Boston College Law School.

1970s Columnist, Boston Magazine.

1972 The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

1973 Special Assistant United States Attorney, District of Massachusetts.

1973 The Digger’s Game.

1973-1983 Attorney at Law, George V. Higgins, Inc.

1974 Cogan’s Trade.

1974-1976 Columnist, Boston Phoenix.

1975 City on a Hill.

1975 The Friends of Richard Nixon.

1976 The Judgment of Deke Hunter.

1976-1979 Columnist, Boston Herald-American.

1977 Writer in residence, Washington Star.

1977 Dreamland.

1979 A Year or So with Edgar.

1979 Instructor in trial practice, Boston College Law School.

1979-1985 Columnist and critic, Boston Globe.

1980 Kennedy for the Defense.

1981 The Rat on Fire.

1982 The Patriot Game.

1984 A Choice of Enemies.

1984-1987 Critic, The Wall Street Journal.

1984 Old Earl Died Pulling Traps.

1984 Style Versus Substance.

1985 Penance for Jerry Kennedy.

1986 Impostors.

1987 Outlaws.

1988 The Sins of the Fathers.

1988 Visiting Professor of English, State University of New York at Buffalo.

1988 Wonderful Years, Wonderful Years.

1988-2000 Professor, Special Programs, Metropolitan College and Creative Writing Program, Department of English, Boston University.

1989 The Progress of the Seasons.

1989 Trust.

1990 Victories.

1990 On Writing.

1991 The Mandeville Talent.

1992 Defending Billy Ryan.

1993 Bomber’s Law.

1995 Swan Boats at Four.

1996 Sandra Nichols Found Dead.

1997 A Change of Gravity.

1998 The Agent.

November 6, 1999 Death in Milton, Massachusetts.

2000 At End of Day.

2004 The Easiest Thing in the World.


Organized into 17 Series.

1. Biography, CVs, family documents 1-2

2. Publicity and interviews 3

3. Correspondence 4-15

4. Books 15-60

5. Short stories 60-64

6. Screenplays, teleplays 64-65

7. Addresses, journalism, book reviews 66-68

8. Newspaper columns 69-72

9. Legal 72-80

10. Teaching 81

11. Subject files 82-92

12. Tax documents 92-95

13. Photographs 95

14. Audio/visual materials 96-99

15. Awards and realia 99-100

16. Printed materials 101-121

17. Oversize 122-123


Gift/purchase, 2003

Related Materials

Matthew J. Bruccoli collection of George V. Higgins, including books, periodical appearances, manuscripts, and ephemera. See library catalog.

Matthew J. Bruccoli Correspondence Collection. Extensive incoming correspondence with George V. Higgins.

Foreign, large print, and books-on-tape editions of George V. Higgins. See library catalog.

Repository Details

Part of the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene Street
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-3847

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script