Author and alumnus Barron donates papers to Princeton Library

April 28, 2016, 3 p.m.
T.A. Barron

Thomas A. Barron (Photo by Aimee Giese)

The award-winning American author and conservationist Thomas A. Barron, a 1974 Princeton alumnus and a former University trustee, has donated his literary papers to the Princeton University Library. The T. A. Barron Papers will be preserved in the Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

Barron, whose writing has been compared to that of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle, writes under the name T.A. Barron and is the author of more than 30 books. His well-known mythic-quest and fantasy novels include "The Great Tree of Avalon," a New York Times bestselling trilogy; "The Atlantis Saga"; "The Adventures of Kate" trilogy; and "The Merlin Saga," which Disney is adapting for film.

Barron was raised on a ranch near Colorado Springs, Colorado, close to Pikes Peak, and his conservationist's reverence for the natural world is present in much of his writing, including two nature books about Rocky Mountains wilderness.

"My first priority is to craft enjoyable stories," Barron said. "Beyond that, I hope to create characters, plots and themes that raise the big questions of life. Good fantasy isn't an escape from reality, but rather an alternate, deeper view of reality."

Barron Avalon book

“The Great Tree of Avalon” is one of the more than 30 books written by 1974 alumnus Thomas A. Barron, who writes under the name T.A. Barron and has donated his literary papers to the Princeton University Library.

The T.A. Barron Papers contain files about the popular author's life and work, including articles, speeches and videos, as well as full documentation for his novels, children's books, nature books and other published work since 1990.

At Princeton, Barron majored in politics, and was awarded the prestigious Pyne Prize as well as the Class of 1901 Medal. He was a Rhodes Scholar and attended Balliol College at Oxford University. Following extensive travel in Europe, Asia and Africa, he went on to receive JD and MBA degrees from Harvard University. After a business career in New York City, Barron returned to Colorado in 1990 with his wife, Currie, and family to focus on writing, his passion since childhood. 

The Barrons have provided generous support to the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), which made possible creation of the Thomas A. and Currie C. Barron Visiting Professorship in Humanities and the Environment; the Barron Family Fund for Innovations in Environmental Studies, which supports efforts by students and faculty to make connections between humanities and the environment; the T.A. Barron Prize for Environmental Leadership, awarded annually to a student who shows extraordinary leadership in environmental issues in any field; and the Henry David Thoreau Freshman Seminar in Environmental Writing. Barron serves on PEI's advisory board. He has also been active with conservation organizations such as EarthJustice, the Nature Conservancy and the Wilderness Society, which honored him with the Robert Marshall Award (1997), its highest award to a citizen conservationist. In 2000, he founded the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors outstanding young people from diverse backgrounds who have made significant positive impacts on their communities and the environment. 

The T.A. Barron Papers will be available for research in June 2016.