The Mary E. Mercer Collection of Carson McCullers-Mary Tucker Correspondence, 1959-1976, contain letters written primarily to Dr. Mercer by Mary Tucker, Carson McCullers's piano teacher and a long-time close friend. Most correspondence concerns the life and work of McCullers; however, there are also several letters written after the death of the author, regarding her biographers and the allocation of her papers to various libraries. Topics include the writer's mental and physical health, her work, and Tucker and Mercer's love and admiration for the author. There is also correspondence between Tucker and Mercer regarding various biographers of McCullers and the purchase of her papers by Duke University. The papers also include several copies of Mercer's own letters and a slide of Mary Tucker taken by Mary Mercer. Arranged in chronological order.
The Carson McCullers Papers span the years 1941-1995 and are divided into six series: Correspondence, Writings, Jordan Massee Notebooks, Photographs, Printed Materials, and Clippings. The Correspondence Series includes numerous letters from Carson McCullers to Jordan Massee, Paul Bigelow, Edith Sitwell, and other friends and family members. Most significant in the series is the correspondence between McCullers and Tennessee Williams, in which both writers touch on a variety of topics such as the writing process, health, marital problems, and their travels. Carson's relationship with her husband, Reeves McCullers, is a frequent topic.
The Writings Series, the largest in the collection, comprises typewritten manuscripts of several long as well as short published works of McCullers, including The Member of the Wedding (which has handwritten revisions) and The Clock Without Hands. Notable short writings include verses that McCullers wrote for children, an essay on literary criticism, and two short works that are inscribed and signed by the author. At the end of the series there are also two poems by Edith Sitwell.
The Jordan Massee Notebooks Series contains a catalogue that Massee compiled about the McCullers papers he owned, as well as a notebook with notes about McCullers and extracts from his journals.
The Photographs Series consists of five photographs, most of which are of Carson McCullers. Particularly noteworthy is a photograph taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson, where McCullers appears with the editor of Harper's Bazaar, George Davis.
The Printed Materials Series and the Clippings Series both contain reviews of writings by McCullers and materials related to their dramatization. The latter series includes two short essays by Tennessee Williams as well as numerous obituaries published after McCullers's death.
Carson McCullers papers, 1941-1995 and undated (bulk 1945-1970), bulk 1945-1970 1.2 Linear Feet — 300 Items
The Mary Sames Tucker Papers are dated from 1936 to 1967, and are divided into two series, the Correspondence Series and the Printed Materials and Clippings Series. The bulk of the first series consists of letters written by Carson McCullers to her former piano teacher, Mary Tucker. They reveal the closeness of the relationship between the two women (Tucker is often referred to as a 'foster mother'). Other letters are addressed to Carson's husband Reeves; her mother, Marguerite Smith; and her physician and longtime friend, Mary E. Mercer. Together, the correspondence documents the writer's relationships, marital problems, and especially the suffering caused by her chronic poor health. The Printed Materials and Clippings Series contains several clippings of obituaries that appeared in newspapers after the death of McCullers and a booklet published by the Empire Theatre.
The Dawn Langley Simmons Papers span the years 1848-2001, with the bulk of the papers being dated between 1969 and 2001. The collection consists of material collected and created by Simmons when she was using the names Gordon Langley Hall, Dawn Pepita Langley Hall, and Dawn Langley Simmons. Extensive files of correspondence dating from the 1950s to 2000 document Simmons' formative years in Kent and Sussex, Great Britain; her relationship with her mother, Marjorie Hall Copper; literary circles in Great Britain; later personal events such as her wedding and purchase of her house in Charleston, S.C.; and Simmons' development as a writer. Significant correspondents or individuals mentioned in letters and other materials include Robert Holmes, Sir Harold Nicolson, Nigel Nicolson, Edwin Peacock, Margaret Rutherford, Vita Sackville-West, and Isabel Whitney. The collection also includes writings by Simmons in the form of typescripts and diaries; printed material and clippings including articles by and about Simmons; legal and financial papers; an extensive collection of scrapbooks; photographs; audiovisual materials; and other material relating to Simmons' personal life and career as a writer. The writings in the collection are primarily typescripts but include a few proofs and printers' galleys. Many of the pieces are unpublished. The publication process of the 1995 autobiography Dawn: A Charleston Legend is extensively documented by a series of edited manuscripts and proofs as well as correspondence with the publisher. Collection materials also document to some extent sex change treatments begun in 1967 at the Gender Identity Clinic of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; Simmons' 1969 interracial marriage to John-Paul Simmons; and the disruption in their lives in part brought on by the negative reaction of Charleston society to their marriage.
The collection also contains an electronic file of an unpublished manuscript, WANTING MAGIC, by J. Theodore Ellis, including his unpublished notes, footnotes, and reflections based on the works of Hall-Simmons and related individuals, as well as professional studies of transsexualism and sexual identity. Includes a printout of selected pages of the manuscript. There is also Ellis' copy of Simmon's GREAT WHITE OWL OF SISSINGHURST.
The Audiovisual Materials Series includes video and audio tape recordings and photographs. The recordings include professionally-produced audio broadcasts discussing Simmons' transgender life and her interracial marriage - and an amateur audio tape of Simmons' wedding. Several hundred photographs document Isabel Whitney and her family as well as Simmons' family and friends. Original recordings are closed to research; listening copies are available for most items. Otherwise, staff must arrange for use copies to be made.
The largest series in the collection, the Correspondence Series consists chiefly of incoming correspondence, spanning five decades, from family and friends, from publishers concerning Simmons' writing, and from other individuals. There is some correspondence written by Simmons scattered throughout.
Brief but detailed entries in the eleven volumes housed in the Diaries Series describe Simmons' writing career, emotional states, and family matters during the time periods from 1975-1976 and 1987-1989, ending with the years 1990-1994.
The Legal and Financial Papers Series chiefly consist of documents concerning Simmons' father, Jack Copper, Isabel Whitney and her family and estate, Simmons and her husband, and Simmons' inheritance from Whitney.
The Printed Materials Series houses clippings, travel guides, flyers, and other items that document Simmons' interests, travels, and hobbies; includes early journalistic writings (chiefly columns), and a hardcover copy of her children's book, the Great White Owl of Sissinghurst.
The twenty-odd albums found in the Scrapbooks Series feature memorabilia, clippings, photos, and correspondence assembled by Simmons concerning her writing career, family, hobbies, and interest in celebrities and royalty.
The small Volumes Series consists of two manuscripts collected by Simmons: a nineteenth-century diary written by Sarah Combs, a transcript of this diary, and an early twentieth century travelogue written by a member of the Whitney family.
The Writings Series primarily consists of typescripts of works by Simmons. There are a few written pieces by other authors. Other writings by Simmons can be found in the Correspondence Series (in the topical correspondence folders for the 1950s and 1960s and scattered throughout in other files); in the William Carter Spann Series, which contains research Simmons conducted in preparation for a book on President Carter's nephew; in the Diaries Series; and in the Printed Materials Series, which contains early columns and later writings by Simmons.
Oversize Materials housed separately from the main collection include posters, cover proofs, newspaper and magazine clippings, and a few diplomas and awards.
Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.