You’d think that birthing American horror’s favorite son would give a U.S. state a broad institutional commitment to supporting the horror genre and honoring its local exponents. Well, apparently not. Because a library in Maine has declined the bequest of the archive of local horror writer Rick Hautala, citing lack of resources to properly support and maintain it.

As reported in the Portland Press Herald, Stephen King’s home town journal, Hautala’s widow is upset that his gift of his archive has been turned down by the Walker Memorial Library in Westbrook, Maine.

“Holly Newstein-Hautala offered Rick’s archives—manuscripts, letters, etc.—to the Walker Memorial Library in Westbrook, ME, where he lived and worked most of his adult life,” runs the post on the official author site. “A year after the offer was made, the library turned down the offer.”

Admittedly, the Library was appropriately contrite, with its director writing that it simply is not “robust” enough to adequately care for such an archive, especially with renovations under way, and proposing a list of alternative homes for the archive, including the University of Maine, the Portland Public Library or the Maine State Library. The Warren Memorial Library held Hautala’s collection until financial difficulties caused it to close in 2010, according to the Press Herald.

Rick Hautala, who died in 2013, was one of the beneficiaries of the great wave of interest in horror in the 1970s and 80s. He apparently wrote around 90 novels and short stories in his career, and was awarded the the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement for 2011 by the U.S. Horror Writers Association.


  1. It’s not unusual for a small library or museum to turn down these requests. I’ve worked with many micro museums and small historical societies in the last 10 years or so. Most have budgets less than $50,000 a year and operate entirely with volunteers. Government or major foundation support is non-existent. Physical papers, such as notes or manuscripts, pose special archival challenges, such as climate-controlled storage, most community historical societies can’t offer. Don’t let the nice picture on the library’s website fool you. The Warren Library may have done the Huatala family a favor by suggested that the papers go to another library with more resources.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail