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Papers of Selected Literary Figures

Telegram to John Guild Fletcher notifying him of his Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  Source: MS F63, John Gould Fletcher Papers

The following list of collections provides only an introduction to the holdings in Special Collections which may be related to this topic. Please consult the University of Arkansas Libraries' online catalog or contact Special Collections to obtain the latest information about additional holdings.

The Special Collections Department holds many manuscript collections pertaining to literary figures. While most of these writers are connected with Arkansas, others lived and wrote elsewhere, both in this country and abroad. Some achieved national prominence and others remained relatively obscure outside their own regions. They wrote poetry, fiction, screenplays, critical reviews, inspirational and travel stories, biographies, and memoirs, among other genres. Their works were intended for readers of all ages and were published in magazines, newspapers, and books. Their collected papers permit researchers to explore beyond the limits of published works toward greater understanding of the authors' lives and times.

Correspondence and manuscript drafts comprise the largest segments of these collections. With corrections and notes in the margins, manuscript drafts of published and unpublished works provide glimpses of writers at work. Correspondence with publishers reveals details about the business aspects of writing. Personal correspondence between a writer and family, friends, and other writers may include not only biographical details but information about wider issues in the writer's environment or the literary scene. Much of the correspondence represents incoming mail, sometimes addressed to a relatively obscure figure from a better-known friend or colleague; consequently these collections contain letters from an impressive and extensive number of literary figures.

Additional items in these collections include personal and family records, scrapbooks, diaries, photographs, and files of newspaper clippings. The collections provide commentary on writers of the past and present; on the art of writing; and on topics of general interest, such as politics and travel. Correspondence and photographs provide evidence of the literary community to which the writers belonged.

Book collections and the vertical file in the Special Collections Department support the collections of literary figures and offer information about other writers as well. The diversity of these resources attracts a broad range of users, including scholars and students from this campus and other educational institutions, journalists, and researchers pursuing personal interests.

The following collections are a sample of the literary material which may be found in the Division. This list does not include authors who wrote only nonfiction works, such as Daisy Bates, Evalena Berry, or David Yancy Thomas; nor does it include records for organizations established to encourage the study of literature, such as the Pathfinder Club of Morrilton or the Modern Literature Club of Fayetteville. The division continues to acquire writers' papers for preservation and research. Please contact the Special Collections Department for the information about holdings which may further your research.

Otto A. Bird Correspondence with Ezra Pound 1932-1955, 23 items. Otto Bird (1914- ), a professor of philosophy, was an associate editor of Encyclopedia Britannica's The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon of Great Books of the Western World. As a graduate student studying the medieval Italian poet Guido Cavalcanti, Bird initiated correspondence with the poet Ezra Pound. Later correspondence presents Pound's ideas on the philosophy of education as shaped by Dante, Milton, Aristotle, Confucius, and others, and Pound's criticism of contemporary educational theory.

Cora Pinkley Call Papers 1885-1977, 5 linear feet and 2 volumes, MC 727. Materials pertain to Ozark Gardens, a nationally distributed newspaper which Cora Pinkley Call (1892-1966) published with Edith Bestard, and to the Ozark Writers and Artists Guild of Eureka Springs, which Call founded and for which she served as president. Call and lyceum performer Thomas Elmore Lucey operated Ozark News, Features, and Pictures Syndicate, a manuscript and clipping service. The collection contains her personal and nature diaries; photographs of Eureka Springs and Fayetteville; scrapbooks about the Guild and her family; correspondence about her books, articles, and family; short stories about characters living in the Ozarks; and poems about nature, religion, her life, Eureka Springs, and the Ozarks. Her books include Pioneer Tales of Eureka Springs and Carroll County (n.p. 1930), From My Ozark Cupboard (Kansas City, Mo.: Allan Publications, 1950), and True Stories of Birds and Animals (Berryville, Ark.: Braswell Printing Co., 1960). Finding aid available online.
Related material:Cora Pinkley Call Papers addendum, 1930-1966, 0.2 linear feet, MC 1090. Finding aid available online. Additional materials pertaining to her literary career and manuscripts by Thomas Elmore Lucy and Bonnie Lela Crump.

Ruth Carr Scrapbook [pseud.] ca. 1911, 1 volume. Martha Alice Caruth Robertson (1864-1929) was born in Washington (Hempstead County). She published under her pseudonym in several publications including the Western Methodist, the Epworth Era, and the St. Louis Advocate. This scrapbook contains twenty-nine clippings of her stories and one paper about her.

Josephine B. Crump Papers 1894-1920, 26 items Josephine Bonaparte Wright Greenlee Crump (1840-1902) of Harrison (Boone County) and Little Rock (Pulaski County) published books of verse including Echoes from the Ozarks (Muskogee, Okla.: Hoffman-Speed Printing, 1913) and By the Fireside (Harrison, Ark.: n.p., 1920). Finding aid available online.

Beverley Githens Dresbach Papers 1890-1971, 3 linear feet and 1 volume, MC 134 This collection gathers manuscripts of a privately published book of poetry, Novitiate, other poetry, short stories, and book reviews by Beverley Githens Dresbach (1903-1971), who also wrote for Arkansas newspapers, the Kansas City Star, and the Christian Science Monitor. In addition, records of poems sold and some of Glenn Ward Dresbach's manuscripts belong to this collection. Four letters from Irl Morse to Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni accompany Mrs. Dresbach's correspondence with Mr. Dresbach and with publishers, as well as fan letters from junior high students. Scrapbooks and photographs document her life in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Finding aid available online.

Glenn Ward Dresbach Papers 1907-1968, 8 linear feet. Correspondence with Langston Hughes, Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Carl Sandburg contributes to the wealth of materials of Glenn Ward Dresbach (1889-1968), ranging from correspondence to manuscripts to certificates from the United Poets Laureate International. The manuscripts include a final draft of Collected Poems, 1914-1948, of Glenn Ward Dresbach (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1950), hundreds of individual poems, and clippings of his poetry from periodicals, such as the Saturday Evening Post, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Atlantic Monthly, and McCall's. Sound recordings complement these manuscripts while clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks provide biographical and critical resources. The finding aid includes alphabetical indexes to correspondents and to poems by title and by first line.
Related material:Glenn Ward Dresbach Modern Poetry Collection Photoduplicates, 1915-1934, 88 items. Pertaining to Glenn Ward Dresbach's correspondence with Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry, A Magazine of Verse and to publication of his poems in that magazine.

Charles J. Finger Papers 1893-1987, 4 1/2 linear feet, MC 639. Before establishing his home at Gayeta Lodge in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Charles J. Finger (1867-1941) founded the San Angelo Music Conservatory and worked for railroad companies. As an adventure story writer for young adults, he won the Newbery Medal in 1924 for Tales From Silver Lands (New York: Doubleday, 1924). After working as an editor for Reedy's Mirror, he founded and published All's Well, or The Mirror Repolished, a literary journal. The literary community centered at Gayeta is recorded in his diaries, clippings, and photographs. Manuscripts and correspondence with H. L. Mencken, George Bernard Shaw, and others complete this collection, which also contains the correspondence and papers of his daughter Helen Finger Leflar, an illustrator. Finding aid available online.
Related material:Charles Joseph Finger Letter. n.d., 1 item. To Lessie Stringfellow Read with Finger's literary career and his views on the U.S. National Recovery Administration and Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Finger-Keddie Correspondence. 1929-1934, 341 items, MC 640. Regarding Finger's career in the railroad industry. Finger-Stone Correspondence. 1923-1941, 53 items, MC 449.

Charlie May Fletcher Papers 1945-1973, 258 items, MC 28 Writing as Charlie May Simon, Charlie May Hogue Simon Fletcher (1897- 1977) published Johnswood (New York: Dutton, 1953), about her life with John Gould Fletcher. She was well known for her books for children and young adults, such as Joe Mason (New York: Dutton, 1969), winner of the Boys Club Junior Book Award in 1947; A Seed Shall Serve (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1960), winner of the 1958 Albert Schweitzer Book Prize; and Martin Buber (New York: Dutton, 1969), winner of the 1970 Jewish Book Club Award. The correspondence primarily concerns the publication of her works and scholarly inquiry about Mr. Fletcher's works. Manuscripts in the collection pertain to Johnswood, two short stories noted as "African Legends," an untitled collection of Cherokee legends, and her speech accepting the award for Joe Mason. Finding aid available online.

John Gould Fletcher Papers 1881-1960, 26 1/2 linear feet and five reels of microfilm. This significant collection documents the life and work of John Gould Fletcher (1886-1950), who received the Pulitzer Prize in 1938 for Selected Poems (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1938). It includes correspondence with some eleven hundred people; manuscripts of published and unpublished poetry, prose (including Arkansas, Fletcher's history of his native state), translations, short stories, and plays; lecture notes on trends in poetry, individual poets, technique of writing poetry, and regionalism in literature; personal notes and notes on poems, poets, art, philosophy, and history; clippings and scrapbooks; and personal records and diaries that provide insight into his life, education, and work in Arkansas, England, and elsewhere.

Correspondents include Conrad Aiken, Henry Bergen, Charlie May Simon Fletcher, Sherwood Anderson, Stephen Vincent Benet, T. S. Eliot, Havelock Ellis, Thomas Hardy, Amy Lowell, William Carlos Williams, Mary MacDowell, Edgar Lee Masters, Louis Mumford, Norman Holmes Pearson, Ezra Pound, John Crowe Ransom, Carl Sandburg, Allen Tate, and Robert Penn Warren. The finding aid includes alphabetical indexes to correspondents and to poems by title.
Related material:John Gould Fletcher Supplementary Papers. c1902-1973, 96 items. Materials pertaining to Fletcher's literary career and to his interest in genealogy and family history. F. Eugene Haun Collection. 1923-1950. c. 1.5 linear foot. M1023. Correspondence, chiefly from Fletcher to Henry Bergen and others; manuscripts of Haun's work on Fletcher. Latane Temple Papers. 1948-1949. 20 items. Correspondence of Temple and Fletcher.

Edsel Ford Papers 1928-1970, 28 linear feet. Manuscripts of published collections, such as Looking for Shiloh (Columbia: University of Missouri, 1968), contain the lyric poetry of Edsel Ford (1928-1970), winner of the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award of the Poetry Society of America. Manuscripts of published and unpublished poems, fiction and nonfiction prose, drama, lectures, and readings may be found along with scrapbooks, photographs of himself and his dog, periodicals and anthologies containing his works, and biographical clippings. While living in Rogers (Benton County), he corresponded with Beverley Githens and Glenn Ward Dresbach, Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni, and others. The finding aid includes alphabetical indexes to poems by title and by first line.
Related material:Kathryn Kruger Post Correspondence. 1965-1971, 177 items. Regarding Ford's career and his writing, the art of poetry, Post's writing, and her contributions to his career. Edsel Ford Letters. 1962-1966, 7 items.

Francis Irby Gwaltney Papers 1921-1981, 19 linear feet. Including letters between Francis Irby Gwaltney and Norman Mailer, the correspondence concerns family, writing, publishing, and Gwaltney's work as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Manuscripts of published and unpublished works include screenplays of his novels, such as Yeller-Headed Summer (New York: Rinehart, 1954) and Destiny's Chickens (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1972) and teleplays for series such as the Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Lecture notes give insight into his teaching career at various educational institutions in Arkansas. Photographs, writing by family members, clippings of critical reviews contained in scrapbooks, and manuscripts of his other novels, such as The Day the Century Ended (New York: Rinehart, 1955) and Idols and Axle Grease (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974), complete the collection.
Related material:Francis Irby Gwaltney Literary Manuscripts. 1954-1965, 2 linear feet.

Mary D. Hudgins Papers 1800-1986, 55 linear feet, MC 534 The variety and depth of Mary Dengler Hudgins's collection of Arkansiana, with a special emphasis on Arkansas music and composers, reflect her own broad interests. During her lifetime (1901-1987) as a writer and librarian in her native Hot Springs, Hudgins amassed correspondence, maps, more than 3,000 books, 2,500 pieces of sheet music, 10,000 photographs, and 2,000 postcards. She obtained original manuscripts including diaries, papers, and scrapbooks of Hot Springs families, as well as records of women's clubs, the Hot Springs Post Office, and the Hot Springs government. The collection also contains manuscripts of her own articles and speeches. The finding aid (available online) includes a topical index to photographs.
Related material:Mary Dengler Hudgins Arkansas Literature and Music Correspondence. 1850-1979, 1/2 linear feet. Mary Dengler Hudgins Arkansas Traveller Scores. 1847-1971, 8 items. Mary Dengler Hudgins Gospel Music Research Fles and Song Books. 1937-1947, 7 linear feet. Mary Dengler Hudgins Research Files. 1861-1978, 7 linear feet.

Lighton Family Papers 1828-1977, 15 linear feet and 33 volumes, MC 779 William Rheem Lighton (1866-1923) earned his living as an office worker, a stenographer, a lawyer, a journalist, a typing and shorthand teacher, and a court reporter before he wrote articles about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake for the Boston Evening Transcript and before he sold his "Billy Fortune" stories to magazines. Moving to Fayetteville, Arkansas, Lighton established Happy Hollow Farm and published "The Story of an Arkansas Farm" in the Saturday Evening Post. Lighton also wrote the screenplay for the movie Water, Water, Everywhere in which Will Rogers played Billy Fortune. Manuscripts, clippings, photographs, and correspondence document his experiences and his writings. The correspondence centers on the courtship, marriage, and family of Lighton and Laura McMaken, whose papers also belong to this collection. His son Louis Duryea (Bud) Lighton (1895-1963) collaborated with William as a writer and a producer and later produced such movies as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and A Bell for Adano on his own. Materials of other Lighton family members are also represented in this collection, including William's daughters, Suzanne (Peggy Sue) Chalfant Lighton who attempted to become a newspaper reporter and a freelance writer before involving herself as a lawyer in Arkansas state and local politics, and Marjorie (Betty) Lighton who worked in the arts and social services. Finding aid available online.

Rebecca Newth Interviews,1991-, 31 sound cassettes, MC 1266 Poet Rebecca Newth conducts interviews of authors, artists, historians, journalists, and other "Arkansas Voices" for a radio program of that title, broadcast on KUAF (Fayetteville). This collection consists of thirty-one of those interviews. Authors interviewed on these recordings include Shirley Abbott, Bette Greene, Joan Hess, and Marcella Thompson. Newth has published five books of poetry to date, from Xeme (Fremont, Mich.: Sumac Press, 1971) to 19 Poems (Fayetteville, Ark.: Picadilly Press, 1993).

Zillah Cross Peel Papers,1898-1980, 1/2 linear foot and 1 volume. Managing editor and then owner of the Benton County Sun from 1915 to 1922, Zillah Cross Peel (1874-1941) also contributed to national periodicals such as Country Gentleman and Scribner's. She also participated in the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. Finding aid available online.

Lida W. Pyles Papers, 1948-1986, 47 items, MC 722 Lydia "Lida" Wilson Pyles (1906- ) published folk tales and local stories in books and newspapers in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. She was also active in the Ozark Writers and Artists Guild and in Ozark Creative Writers, Inc. Finding aid available online.

Otto Ernest Rayburn Papers 1916-1960, 1473 items. The "Ozark Folk Encyclopedia," 229 manuscript "volumes" his writing, and research files of clippings are an invaluable resource for the study of Ozark folk culture. His publications include Forty Years in the Ozarks: An Autobiography (Eureka Springs, Ark.: Ozark Guide Press, 1957) and Ozark Country (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1941), as well as magazine and newspaper columns, verse, and numerous other works. The collection includes more than a hundred photographs of the Ozarks and correspondence with Carl Sandburg, Vance Randolph, and Erskine Caldwell, among others. The finding aid (available online) includes indexes to the "Ozark Folk Encyclopedia" and other compilations of his writings.

Lessie Stringfellow Read 1913-1924 and 1940-1945, 805 items. Read (1886-1971) was editor of the Fayetteville Democrat from 1918 until 1945. She was active in the Authors and Composers Society of Arkansas and the League of American Pen Women, and served as the first national press director for the General Federation of Women's Clubs from 1916 through 1926. She wrote for national magazines, such as the Delineator and the Saturday Evening Post, and edited books of poetry for publication, including one by Roberta Fulbright, entitled Sea (See) Foam (Siloam Springs, Ark.: John Brown University Press, 1949).

Eleanor de la Vergne Risley Papers, 1895-1945, 1 1/2 linear feet, MC485 Risley (1868-1945) wrote about mountain people and pioneer life in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas. Her years in Arkansas were spent in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) and Ink (Polk County). Her books include The Road to Wildcat (Little, Brown, and Co., 1930) and An Abandoned Orchard (Little Brown, and Co., 1932). She published numerous stories in the Atlantic Monthly.
Related material:Louis and Elsie Freund Papers. Finding aid online

Marion A. Steele, M.D., Papers ca. 1950s-1985, 2 1/4 linear feet, MC 717 Includes manuscripts of published and unpublished works of fiction, nonfiction, and theatrical works written by Steele (1922-1985) of Gentry (Benton County). Dr. Steele was a psychiatrist whose writing themes included dream analysis, family relationships, personal choices, mythology, and insanity. Finding aid available online.

Frank Arthur Swinnerton Papers 1899-1964, 22 linear feet. The correspondence of Frank Swinnerton (1884-1982) is divided into three groups: general correspondence with family, friends, and acquaintances; Bennett Trust correspondence from Enoch Arnold Bennett, his relatives, and close associates concerning Swinnerton's position as a trustee for the estate of Arnold Bennett; and publishers' correspondence. His friendships with H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, and Hugh Walpole, and his acquaintanceships with George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, John Middleton Murry, and Katherine Mansfield resulted in valuable correspondence as well as material for his works, such as The Georgian Literary Scene (London: Hutchinson, 1969). Manuscripts for "Letters to Gog and Magog," articles in the form of open letters to the legendary patrons of London, as well as other articles and critical reviews, accompany numerous manuscripts of his nonfiction and fiction books, such as Harvest Comedy (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1951), Death of a Highbrow (London: Hutchinson, 1961), and Bright Lights (London: Hutchinson, 1968). The Swinnerton collection serves as a valuable source of information on twentieth-century British literature.
Related material: Frank Arthur Swinnerton Letters to Norah Hoult. 1935-1976, 41 items. Frank Arthur Swinnerton Letters to Norah Hoult. 1945-1981, 45 items, MC 972.

Virginia Tyler Papers, 1946-1987, 2 1/2 linear feet, MC 817 For over twenty years, Tyler's columns in the Eureka Springs Times Echo highlighted local interest stories and introduced newcomers and visitors, many of whom were writers.

Constance Wagner Interview 1977, 5 items, MC 838 Audio cassette recordings and notes pertaining to an interview of Constance Wagner of Eureka Springs (Carroll County), by Ellen Compton Shipley. Wagner's writings include the novel Sycamore (New York: Knopf, 1950). Finding aid available online.

John Williams Papers ca. 1944-1988, 11 linear feet John Williams (1922-1994) received the National Book Award in 1973 for his novel Augustus (New York: Viking Press, 1972). His other novels are Butcher's Crossing (New York: Macmillan, 1960), Nothing But the Night (Denver, Colo.: Alan Swallow, 1948), and Stoner (New York: Viking Press, 1965). Williams directed the creative writing program at the University of Denver, where he taught from 1954 to 1985. He was founding editor of the Denver Quarterly and edited English Renaissance Poetry (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1990). Soon after his retirement in 1985, Williams moved to Fayetteville. The collection includes literary manuscripts, correspondence, clippings, reviews, interviews, and other materials pertaining to his literary and personal interests.Finding aid on line.

Charles Morrow Wilson Papers 1877-1977, 38.9 linear feet. Charles Morrow Wilson (1905-1977) worked in a variety of positions, ranging from part-time reporter for the New York Times to executive in the United Fruit Company; however, the collection focuses on his career as a writer. While living in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and in Putney, Vermont, Wilson published novels, such as Acres of Sky (New York: Putnam, 1930), and nonfiction books, such as Empires in Green and Gold: The Story of the American Banana Trade (New York: H. Holt, 1947) and Liberia (New York: Sloane, 1947). Information about these works may be found in the collection along with a large number of incomplete, unpublished manuscripts, such as several versions of the novel October Song, which is set in the Maya country of southern Mexico. The photographs document an archeological expedition to Bonampak, the Maya temple in Chiapas, Mexico, in which Wilson participated. The topics of his nonfiction articles range from biography, including several versions of a controversial Reader's Digest article on Governor Orval Faubus, to the banana trade in Middle America, a topic that also dominates his professional correspondence. The creation of Wilson Park in Fayetteville, real estate in Arkansas and in Vermont, production of the musical "Acres of Sky" at the University of Arkansas, Arkansas politics and Governor Orval Faubus, and Vermont politics and environmental issues generate the substance of his family and personal correspondence.

Thyra Samter Winslow Papers 1900-1970, 76 items. Much of the correspondence in this collection is between Richard Clarence Winegard and associates of Thyra Samter Winslow (c1885-1961) respecting Winegard's research for his Ph.D dissertation, "Thyra Samter Winslow: A Critical Assessment." This correspondence provides useful biographical information about the author from Fort Smith (Sebastian County), who published short stories in magazines, such as the New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, and Smart Set. Photocopies of these short stories are available in this collection, along with critical reviews of her published collections of short stories which include Picture Frames (New York: Knopf, 1923), Show Business (New York: Knopf, 1926), and People Around the Corner (New York: Knopf, 1927).

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Last updated: October 24, 2012