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Michael Shaara Papers
Shaara - Personal and Family
Broward County > Library > Bienes > Shaara - Personal and Family

Bienes Museum of the Modern Book: The Dianne and Michael Bienes Special Collections and Rare Book Library

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Subseries 3.4: Personal and family, 1958-1988 and n.d. (0.20 linear feet)

This subseries contains Shaara's personal correspondence. It consists mainly of typescript and manuscript letters, greeting cards, and casual notes from the author's family, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Some correspondence includes letters written by family members to other individuals. Correspondence from Ted Marek, his brother-in-law, and Colonel Stewart Sherard, his friend, contains insightful comments about Shaara's personality and illuminates aspects of his spiritual life. 

Shaara had a habit of referring to his son Jeff as "Sam" and his daughter Lila as "George". When his daughter was a baby, he nicknamed her "Gorgeous George" after the wrestler, and the name stuck. See Series VI: Personal papers - - Journals for letters composed in his notebooks to George (Lila).  

The letters also cover Shaara's medical issues. The strain of teaching at Florida State University, doing television, and writing a novel became too much and in March of 1965, he had a major heart attack. He was rushed to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital where his heart stopped beating and was declared clinically dead for nearly an hour.  Shaara was revived only through the use of external heart massage, electric shock treatments, and injection of drugs. After weeks in intensive care, he was released from the hospital under observation. Because he survived, the doctors named Shaara "the new Lazarus". Later he described the entire experience in an article, "In the Midst of Life" for the Saturday Evening Post. While Shaara was teaching in Italy, he was involved in a motorcycle accident on March 5, 1972. He was unconscious for five weeks and eventually returned to Florida as "permanently disabled". Doctors later discovered that he suffered from a severe brain trauma. He never fully recovered. Letters to his doctors, friends, and colleagues detail his daily struggles and his efforts to obtain proper diagnosis and treatment for his condition. 

Within this subseries, there are some letters written by Shaara. In the finding aid, file folder descriptions with the star symbol symbol indicate that letter(s) from Shaara are included. Materials are arranged alphabetically by correspondent and are filed in three subcategories: Correspondence - - Personal - - Family; Correspondence - - Personal - - Friends; Correspondence - - Personal - - Medical.  

For more information about his personal life and medical conditions, see Series I: Writings ("Brain Damage: The Patient"; "Brain Damage: The Patient's Story"; "A Case of Brain Damage"; "The New Lazarus"; and untitled [I have never been able to remember…); Series III: Correspondence - - Publishing activities (letters to Jeff Herman agency and James O'Shea Wade ); Series VI: Personal papers - - Journals; Series VII: Clippings - - About Shaara; Series IX: Serials ("In the Midst of Life"); Series X: Manuscripts of other individuals (Nancy Corney manuscript).

Series
Box
Folder

Subseries Description

Item Description

Number of  Items

Subseries
3.4
Box
7
Folder
1

Correspondence - - Personal - - Family

Letter from Ginny (Shaara) Jamieson (Shaara’s cousin) to Shaara family, 1966.

1 letter

Subseries
3.4
Box
7
Folder
2

Correspondence - - Personal - - Family

Letters from Gloria Marek (Shaara’s sister) to Shaara family, n.d. 1968.

2 letters

Subseries
3.4
Box
7
Folder
3

Correspondence - - Personal - - Family

Letters from Ted Marek (Shaara’s brother-in-law) to Shaara, 1968.

3 letters

Subseries
3.4
Box
7
Folder
4

Correspondence - - Personal - - Family

Letter from Helen Shaara (Shaara’s wife) to Paul Newman, 1969.

1 letter

Subseries
3.4
Box
7
Folder
5

Correspondence - - Personal - - Family

Letter from Jeff or Lila Shaara (Shaara’s children) to Helen Shaara, 1984.

1 letter

Subseries
3.4
Box
7
Folder
6

Correspondence - - Personal - - Family

Letter from State of Florida, Departmen