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 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.