Virginia Spencer Carr papers, 1867-2009 and undated, bulk 1970-1977

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Carr, Virginia Spencer
Scholar and a professor of American literature at Georgia State University. Her first book was The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers. Correspondence, notes, drafts, clippings, and other materials used by Carr in writing The Lonely Hunter (1975), a biography of Southern author Carson McCullers. Includes correspondence between Carr and McCullers' friends and relatives and literary and artistic figures, notes from interviews, McCullers family correspondence, genealogy, and drafts of Carr's doctoral dissertation on McCullers as well as drafts and foundry proofs for The Lonely Hunter. Includes material on Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., February House, Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Middlebury, Vt. Persons represented in the collection include Elizabeth Ames, W. H. Auden, Leonard Bernstein, Paul Bowles, John Ciardi, David Leo Diamond, Granville Hicks, John Huston, Jordan Massee, Louis Untermeyer, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Leo Lerman, and Eleanor Clarke Warren.
6.6 Linear Feet
2480 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The Virginia Spencer Carr Papers span the years 1867 to 2009 and document the research and production of Carr's biography of Carson McCullers, The Lonely Hunter. Formats include correspondence, notes, drafts, and clippings. The collection consists of four series: Alphabetical Files, Research Files, Correspondence by McCullers Family, and Drafts and Proofs. The Alphabetical Files Series consists primarily of correspondence and interview notes between Carr and the many individuals she contacted while doing research for her book. Prominent correspondents include David Leo Diamond, Jordan Massee, Edwin Peacock, Mary Mercer, Mary S. Tucker, and Doubleday Publishing. Materials in the Research Files Series also include a large number of copies of correspondence, primarily letters written by Carson McCullers. There are also some clippings, notes from interviews that Carr conducted and letters she received in reaction to the publication of her book. The Correspondence by McCullers Family Series consists of copies of letters written primarily by Carson McCullers to her friends and family, including Reeves McCullers, David Leo Diamond, and her mother, Marguerite Waters Smith. There is also a series of letters McCullers wrote John Huston in the last year of her life. Finally, the Drafts and Proofs Series includes a copy of Carr's doctoral dissertation on Carson McCullers and notes that served in its preparation. There are also edited sections of the manuscript of the The Lonely Hunter, as well as a foundry proof and a galley of the same.

Biographical / historical:

Virginia Spencer Carr earned her Ph.D. at Florida State University in 1969. She taught courses in the American novel, American writers and poets, literature of the South, and the writing of biography at Georgia State University. The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers was her first book, and was awarded the Francis Butler Simkins Prize from the Southern Historical Society and Longwood College for "distinguished writing in Southern History." Her second book, Dos Passos: A Life, was selected "Best Book of Nonfiction" for 1984 by the Dixie Council of Author and Journalists. Dr. Carr holds an honorary doctorate in humane letters (Lynchburg College). She also was a Senior Fulbright Professor at the University of Wroclaw, Poland (1980), and held the 1993 Stanley J. Kahrl Fellowship in Theater History at Harvard University.

Acquisition information:
The Virginia Spencer Carr Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a purchase in 1977 and 1981.
Processing information:

Processed by Pavla Vesela, Brittany E. Wilson, and other staff, May 15 2004

Accession 2009-0088 added to Virginia Spencer Carr papers by Alice Poffinberger, September 17 2009.

Encoded by Pavla Vesela, Brittany E. Wilson, Paula Jeannet, Michael Shumate, February 2006

Encoding updated by Meghan Lyon, December 2009

Accessions were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.

The Virginia Spencer Carr Papers were formerly part of the Collections on Carson McCullers.

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Virginia Spencer Carr Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University