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MS Am 2828

Hayes, Billy. Billy Hayes letters from a Turkish prison, 1970-1978: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Am 2828
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Hayes, Billy.
Title: Billy Hayes letters from a Turkish prison,
Date(s): 1971-1978.
Quantity: 1 collection (.25 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Billy Hayes' letter to his family and friends while imprisoned in Turkey. Also includes some material from his book about the experience and the subsequent movie, both titled Midnight Express.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2012M-44. Deposit, Julio Santo Domingo III; received: 2012 April.
Forms part of the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Susan Wyssen

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Billy Hayes Letters From a Turkish Prison, 1970-1978 (MS Am 2828). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

William "Billy" Hayes (born 1947) is an American writer, actor, director, and convicted drug smuggler. On October 7, 1970, he was caught trying to smuggle hashish out of Turkey. He was arrested and sentenced to more than four years in prison. Close to his release date, the Turkish authorities changed his sentence to life in prison. He escaped from prison on October 2, 1975, crossing first into Greece then being deported from Greece to Germany, where he finally ended up in American custody. He wrote a book about his experience. Published in 1977, Midnight Express was adapted for screen and made into a movie of the same name directed by Alan Parker and released in 1978.


Arranged in two series:

Scope and Contents

The collection consists chiefly of letters from Billy Hayes to his family and friends. There is also some correspondence between Hayes and American officials concerning his predicament and one letter between the Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations and a United States Senator (Marshall Wright to Norris Cotton) asking for aid in gaining proper justice for Hayes. In addition to correspondence, the collection contains a carbon typescript of part of a chapter from the book Midnight Express. and some clippings and photographs concerning Hayes, his book, and the movie Midnight Express.

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