Iconic American Writer Flannery O'Connor’s Archive Comes to Emory


Emory University's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) has acquired the archive of iconic American writer Flannery O'Connor. The materials include her earliest writings and poetry, handmade books, hundreds of photographs, unpublished writings, and unpublished correspondence among others.

Kevin Young, curator of literary collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at MARBL, said that O'Connor's humor and fierce faith offers a new perspective on the South, writing and O'Connor herself.

"This archive is a distinctive collection that will provide new opportunities for teaching and research about O'Connor and modern literature," said Rosemary M. Magee, director of MARBL, in a statement. "The materials place O'Connor's inner journey within the context of her public journey as a major voice in American literature. We see her development as an artist along with her spiritual pilgrimage."

Louise Florencourt, cousin of Flannery O'Connor and co-trustee of the Mary Flannery O'Connor Charitable Trust, said that Emory's reputation of a good stewardship made them choose the University to house the archives.

The O'Connor archive also comprises of papers from the 1930s throughout her life, correspondence, writings, artwork, journals, notebooks, photographs, slides, negatives, scrapbooks, printed material, clippings, legal and financial records, and awards.

The correspondence consists of more than 600 letters between O'Connor and her mother Regina, other family members, friends and fellow writers like Louise Abbot, Cecil Dawkins, Caroline Gordon and John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate.

During her lifetime, O'Connor visited Emory and interacted with students. Several of the writer's materials have been donated to the Library over the last several decades. A collection of O'Connor's letters to her close correspondent Betty Hester was gifted to Emory in 1987. Plus, the papers of Sally Fitzgerald, writer and editor of several volumes of O'Connor's letters and works, were given to the University in 2008.

Besides O'Connor's archive, the world-class repository at the Library include some of the finest collections of modern literature, particularly 20th century American, British and Irish poetry; African American literature, history and culture; and an extensive collection on the American South. The repository features Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney's papers, British poet laureate Ted Hughes' papers, Alice Walker's archive, the papers of Benny and Raymond Andrews, Salman Rushdie's archive and the 70,000-volume Danowski Poetry Library.

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