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.