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Picture of Truman Capote

Truman Capote

Picture of In Cold Blood book cover

Picture of Breakfast at Tiffany's book cover

Picture of A Christmas Memory book cover

Picture of Other Voices, Other Rooms book cover


Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1924.  His mother, Lillie Mae Faulk, was a 16 year old beauty queen, and his father, Archulus "Arch" Persons, was a salesman who could never keep a job for very long.  His parents' unhappy marriage which ended in divorce.  His mother raised him in Monroeville, Alabama, which became a setting for a lot of his stories. 

He made friends with Harper Lee (To Kill a Mocking Bird, - Capote is Dill in the novel) during his childhood.  His mother remarried, and he moved to New York where he attended the Trinity School and St. John's Academy until the age of 17 when he ended his schooling.  His writing career soon began, with his early short stories in 1946.  Soon afterward, he wrote his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, in 1948. 

Capote traveled abroad until 1958, the same year he wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  He had a huge success in the writing and publication of In Cold Blood, the story of a Kansas family’s murder, and the story of the two men who murdered them.  Capote took major criticism for befriending one of the murderers, and also for being a homosexual.

Capote spent his later years in and out of rehab clinics, dealing with drug and alcohol addictions and a series of mental breakdowns.  All the while, he continued to enjoy his success as an author and playwright.  These addictions and breakdowns did, however, lead to his death in August of 1984 at the age of 54.  Truman Capote continues to be one of the most bizarre and celebrated among American authors, and will probably continue to have his books and life stories made into film for many years to come.

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Bibliography ( - housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)  

Books, Plays, Films:

  • Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote (Random House, 2007)
  • Summer's Crossing (Random House, 2005) - Kesän taittuessa (suom. Kaijamari Sivill)
  • Marilyn Monroe: Photographs (1945-1962, 1994)
  • A Capote Reader (Random House, 1987)
  • Answered Prayers, 1986 (unfinished)
  • Conversations With Capote (by Lawrence Grobel, Dutton, 1985 )
  • One Christmas (Random House, 1983)
  • Music for Chameleons (1980)
  • Then it all Came Down (1976)
  • The Dogs Bark (1973)
  • Crimewatch (1973; television play)
  • Behind Prison Walls (1972; television play)
  • The Glass House (1972; television play with: Tracy Keenan Wynn and Wyatt Cooper)
  • Trilogy (1969; screenplay, with Eleanor Perry)
  • Experiment in Multimedia (1969; with E. and F. Perry)
  • Laura (1968; television play)
  • House of Flowers (1968)
  • The Thanksgiving Visitor (1968; television play)
  • The Thanksgiving Visitor (Scholastic, 1967)
  • Among the Paths to Eden (1967; television play)
  • In Cold Blood, 1966 - Kylmäverisesti (suom. Tauno Tainio) - film 1967, written and directed by Richard Brooks, starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart; television film 1996)
  • A Christmas Memory, (1966)
  • A Christmas Memory (1966; television play)
  • Selected Writings (1963)
  • Observations (1959; with R. Avedon)
  • The Innocents (1961; screenplay, with William Archibald and John Mortimer - film dir. by Jack Clayton, starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkis)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958 - Aamiainen Tiffanylla (suom. Inkeri Hämäläinen ja Kristiina Kivivuori - film 1961, dir. by Blake Edwards, starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen)
  • The Muses Have Heard (1956)
  • The House of Flowers (1954; play, with Harold Arlen)
  • Beat The Devil (1954; screenplay, with John Huston - film dir. by J.H., starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Robert Morley)
  • The Grass Harp (1952; play)
  • The Grass Harp (1951 - Ruohojen harppu (suom. Eila Pennanen - film 1996, dir. by Charles Matthau, starring Piper Laurie, Sissy Spacek, Walter Matthau, Edward Furlong, Jack Lemmon, Nell Carter)
  • Local Color (1950)
  • A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1949)
  • Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948)

Books About Truman Capote:

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Writing Samples  

In Cold Blood

"This is it, this is it, this has to be it, there's the school, there's the garage, now we turn south." To Perry, it seemed as though Dick were muttering jubilant mumbo-jumbo. They left the highway, sped through a deserted Holcomb, and crossed the Santa Fe tracks. "The bank, that must be the bank, now we turn west--see the trees? This is it, this has to be it." The headlights disclosed a lane of Chinese elms; bundles of wind-blown thistle scurried across it. Dick doused the headlights, slowed down, and stopped until his eyes were adjusted to the moon-illuminated night. Presently, the car crept forward.

Perry laughed. "She's really a terrific cook, Mrs. Meier. You ought to taste her Spanish rice. I've gained fifteen pounds since I got here. Course I was on the thin side. I'd lost a lot of weight while Dick and me were out on the road riding all to hell and gone--hardly ever eating a square meal, hungry as hell most of the time. Mostly, we lived like animals. Dick was always stealing canned stuff out of grocery stores. Baked beans and canned spaghetti. We'd open it up in the car and gobble it cold. Animals. Dick loves to steal. It's an emotional thing with him--a sickness. I'm a thief too, but only if I don't have the money to pay. Dick, if he was carrying a hundred dollars in his pocket, he'd steal a stick of chewing gum."

As is customary, the warden, having finished his recitation, asked the condemned man whether he had any last statement to make. Hickock nodded. "I just want to say I hold no hard feelings. You people are sending me to a better world than this ever was"; then, as if to emphasize the point, he shook hands with the four men mainly responsible for his capture and conviction, all of whom had requested permission to attend the executions: K.B.I. Agents Roy Church, Clarence Duntz, Harold Nye, and Dewey himself. "Nice to see you," Hickock said with his most charming smile; it was as if he were greeting guests to his own funeral.

As he brought into the warehouse, Smith recognized his old foe, Dewey; he stopped chewing a hunk of Doublemint gum he had in his mouth, and grinned and winked at Dewey, jaunty and mischievous.   But after the warden asked if he had anything to say, his expression was somber.  His sensitive eyes hazed gravely at the surrounding faces, swerved up to the shadowy hangman, then downward to his own manacled hands.  He looked at his fingers, which were stained with ink and paint, for he’d spent his final three years on Death Row painting self-portraits and pictures of children, usually the children of inmates who supplied him with photographs of their seldom-seen progeny.  “I think,” he said, “it’s a helluva thing to take a life in this manner.  I don’t believe in capital punishment, morally or legally.  Maybe I had something to contribute, something—”  His assurance faltered; shyness blurred his voice, lowered it to a just audible level.  “It would be meaningless to apologize for what I did.  Even inappropriate.  But I do.  I apologize."

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Copy of frontis page, In Cold Blood, signed by members of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation staff, in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection, Washburn University. Gift of Lynn Wilkerson. Audio file about this gift.

Infamous-- The Movie

Capote-- The Movie

In Cold Blood -- The Movie

Capote in Kansas -- Graphic Novel:
        Author Interview

Truman Capote on IMDb

Truman Capote on PBS's website.

Truman Capote on Biography's website.

Truman Capote on Wikipedia.

Article from the Kansas City Times, 29 August, 1984

Anti-fan letter to Truman Capote from William S. Burroughs

Wall Street Journal article "In Cold Blood' Killer's Never-Published Memoir Raises Questions About His Motive"

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