The Sallie Bingham Papers provide rich documentation of the personal life, literary development, and philanthropic activities of Sallie Bingham, feminist and writer. The papers, dated 1900-2022, with the bulk of the materials dating from the 1940s to 2022, are comprised of correspondence, speeches, writings, subject files, personal papers, diaries and notebooks, legal and financial papers, audiovisual recordings, and photographic media. Included also are some records of The Kentucky Foundation for Women, a philanthropic organization founded by Bingham; The American Voice, a literary journal founded by Bingham and published under the auspices of The Kentucky Foundation for Women; and Santa Fe Stages, a regional theater founded by Bingham. Arranged into the following series: Audiovisual Materials, Correspondence, Diaries and Notebooks, Kentucky Foundation for Women, Legal and Financial, Miscellaneous, Photographs, Poetry, Santa Fe Stages, Speeches, Subject Files, Writings, and Oversize Material, with the Writings, Diaries and Notebooks, and Correspondence Series composing the bulk of the collection.
The Writings Series is central to the collection, and is correspondingly substantial, comprising over half of the papers. It includes drafts, research, correspondence and publicity related to such novels as Small Victories, Upstate, Matron of Honor, and Straight Man, her memoir Passion and Prejudice, the writing and production of the plays The Awakening and The Death of Henry Flagler as well as poetry and many short, personal essays. The Poetry Series consists of individual poems, while compendiums of poetry are in the Writings Series. Many of Bingham's writings (including poems, novels, short stories, plays and essays) exist as electronic files and are available to researchers. These files are listed in the Poetry and the Writings Series. The Diaries and Notebooks Series contains material spanning her entire life -- from her adolescence in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1940s to her experiences living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and contain many ideas for writings and references to the process of writing. The Correspondence Series also spans the same period of time, and contains family correspondence spanning many decades, as well as literary and personal correspondence between Bingham and such well-known authors, activists and artists as Judy Chicago and Gloria Steinem. The smaller Speeches Series houses writings by Bingham for public engagements, and in addition to contributing to a portrait of Bingham as a writer, documents her explication of feminist issues relating to women in the corporate world, in publishing, and women in history.
Bingham, born into a prominent Louisville, KY, family that owned The Louisville Courier-Journal, worked for the newspaper as book page editor, 1982-1985. She also took an active seat on the board of the Bingham Enterprises, which was responsible for The Courier-Journal and other media corporations in the Louisville area. Bingham's desire to sell her shares in the stock in the newspaper resulted in the sale of The Courier-Journal in 1986. The Bingham family and the break-up of the Bingham Enterprises were the subject of at least four books (The Binghams of Louisville, House of Dreams, The Patriarch, and Bingham's Passion and Prejudice) and much media attention. Materials concerning this aspect of Bingham's life can be found in the Legal and Financial Papers Series and Subject Files Series. Audiovisual materials in the Audiotapes and Videotapes Series document aspects of Bingham's career and life through interviews and other events.
NOTE: This collection also contains numerous additions that have not been processed. For descriptions of later additions, please see below or consult the library's online catalog.