||The 48 boxes of manuscripts and correspondence which make up the bulk of
the Carson McCullers Collection, 1924-1976, principally reflect her literary
life and career. The material is organized into four series: I. Works,
1940-1971 (23 boxes), II. Letters, 1944-1967 (1 box), III. Recipient 1939-1967
(5 boxes), and IV. Miscellaneous, 1924-1976 (19 boxes). Within each series the
material is arranged alphabetically by title or author. This collection was
previously accessible only through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as
part of a retrospective conversion project.
||The Works Series consists of holograph drafts, typescripts, galley
proofs, page proofs, printed pages, notes, and fragments of poems, articles,
essays, memoirs, plays, stories, and novels, some unpublished. Included are
many untitled articles, essays, poems, and stories. The Center has extensive
manuscript holdings for McCullers' novels,
Clock without Hands (1961),
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940),
The Member of the Wedding (1946), including
her script for stage and the musical adaptation, and
Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941).
Manuscripts for her collected works include
Collected Short Stories and the Novel The Ballad of
the Sad Cafe (1952), as well as
The Mortgaged Heart (1971), edited by her
sister, Margarita G. Smith. Numerous holograph drafts and typescripts for her
The Square Root of Wonderful (1958), are
found here as well. Among her stories are typescripts of
"Art and Mr. Mahoney," (1949),
"A Domestic Dilemma" (1951),
"The Haunted Boy" (1955),
"The March" (1967),
"The Sojourner" (1950), and
"Who Has Seen the Wind" (1956). Representative
of the articles and essays found in this collection are
"The Dark Brilliance of Edward Albee" (1963),
"The Flowering Dream" (1959),
"Home for Christmas" (1949),
"A Hospital Christmas Eve" (1967),
"How I Began to Write" (1948),
"In Praise of Radiance" (1963),
"Our Heads Are Bowed" (1945), and
"The Vision Shared" (1950).
||The Letters Series includes 260 letters written by McCullers to her
family, including her husband Reeves, her sister, Margarita, and her mother; to
literary friends such as Dawn Langley Gordon Simmons; publisher Houghton
Mifflin and Company; literary agent Ann Watkins, Inc.; and her attorneys
Fitelson and Mayers.
||The Recipient Series contains approximately 1000 letters to McCullers
including letters from fans such as Morton Ruge who wrote of the profound
effect her work had on his life, and from a high school teacher, B.E.
Edelstein, who mailed letters from his students to McCullers describing their
reactions to her novels; from literary and artistic friends Newton Arvin,
Marielle Bancou, David Diamond, Janet Flanner, Howard Mandel, Dawn Langley
Simmons, and Tennessee Williams, among others; from editors André Bay and John
Lackey Brown; movie director Fred Zinnemann; her biographer Oliver Evans; her
physician and close friend, Mary Mercer; from literary agents Ann Watkins,
Inc., Robert Lantz, Liebling-Wood, and Pearn, Pollinger, & Higham Ltd.;
publishers Houghton Mifflin and Company and Mondadori Publishing Company, Inc.;
attorneys Fitelson and Mayers; organizations such as the Ford Foundation and
the National Institute of Arts and Letters; and her family. Additional
correspondents can be identified using the Index of Correspondents located at
the end of this finding aid.
||The Miscellaneous Series contains various adaptations of McCullers'
Ballad of the Sad Cafe (stage adaptation by
Edward Albee and materials from the Merchant Ivory Productions film),
The Member of the Wedding (French stage
adaptation by André Bay and a musical adaptation by Theodore Mann and G. Wood
called "F, Jasmine Addams"),
Reflections in a Golden Eye (screenplay by
Chapman Mortimer, Gladys Hill, and John Huston),
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (filmscript by
Thomas C. Ryan), and
Clock without Hands (stage adaptation by
Arthur J. Vander).
||Also included here are manuscripts of articles, books, theses, and
dissertations about McCullers by authors such as Hans de Vaal, Oliver Wendell
Evans, Lawrence J. McCarthy, Simeon Mozart Smith, and Margaret Sue Sullivan.
Especially notable is an article
"Praise to Assenting Angels," by Tennessee
||Works by other authors, among them Elizabeth Bowen, Katherine Garrison
Chapin, David Diamond, A. E. Hotchner, Victor Sawdon Pritchett, Vinnie
Williams, Vurrell Yentzen, and R. L. York, are also present in this series.
Diamond's musical compositions include McCullers'
"The Twisted Trinity" set to music.
||This series also contains extensive third-party correspondence, much of
it pertaining to McCullers and written to her sister, Margarita G. Smith, with
the majority from McCullers' attorneys, Fitelson and Mayers, her publisher,
Houghton Mifflin and Company, and her agent Robert Lantz. Personal items
relating to McCullers are contained here such as several address books, a
family Bible, various financial records such as bank records and royalty
statements, materials concerning her funeral, and her will. Other items relate
to her sister, Margarita G. Smith, and to her mother, Marguerite Waters
||Elsewhere in the Center are forty Vertical File folders which contain
playbills, reviews of McCullers' work, and newspaper articles about her life,
writings, awards, and death. The Photography Collection contains over 1000
photographs of McCullers, her family, friends, and screen personalities
involved in the film versions of her works. In the Personal Effects Collection
are numerous articles of clothing, among other things.