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Babs and Borden Deal papers

Identifier: MSS-3597


Articles, newspaper sections, and copies of stories.


  • 20th c.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, Deal attended Macedonia Consolidated High School, after which he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and fought forest fires in the Pacific Northwest. Before he began writing, his checkered career included work on a showboat, hauling sawdust for a lumber mill, harvesting wheat, a position as auditor for the United States Department of Labor, a telephone solicitor, copywriter, and an anti-aircraft fire control instructor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In 1946, Deal enrolled in The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. While there he published his first short story, "Exodus". His creative writing professor was Hudson Strode. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree within three years, then enrolled in Mexico City College for graduate study.

It was not until 1956 that Deal decided to become a full-time writer. Among the pseudonyms he used were Loyse Deal, Lee Borden, and Michael Sunga.

A prolific writer, Deal penned twenty-one novels and more than one hundred short stories, many of which appeared in McCall's, Collier's, Saturday Review, and Good Housekeeping. His work has been translated into twenty different languages. A major theme in his canon is man's mystical attachment to the earth and his quest for land, inspired by his family's loss of their property during the Great Depression. The majority of his work is set in the small hamlets of the Deep South. From 1970 Deal also published, under the name "Anonymous", a series of erotic novels with pronoun titles such as Her and Him.[1][2]

His novel The Insolent Breed served as the basis for the Broadway musical A Joyful Noise. His novel Dunbar's Cove was the basis for the plot of the film Wild River, starring Lee Remick and Montgomery Clift.

Deal was married twice and had three children. He died of a heart attack in Sarasota, Florida.


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Martha Huie


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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266