Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Mary Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 - August 3, 1964) was a Southern novelist and storywriter, born in Savannah, Georgia. Her father had lupus, and the disease was hereditary in the O'Connor family. In 1951, after being diagnosed with lupus herself, she returned to her ancestral farm in Milledgeville. There she raised and nurtured some 100 peafowl. Fascinated by birds of all kinds, she raised ducks, hens, geese, swans, and any sort of exotic bird she could obtain, and she incorporated images of peacocks often in her work. O'Connor authored two novels and 31 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries, including Wise Blood (novel, 1952), The Violent Bear it Anyway (novel, 1960), and A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories (1955). Everything That Rises Must Converge (stories) was published posthumously in 1965.
The collection consists of thirty-eight letters written by O'Connor to her author friend Ashley Brown. The letters discuss mutual friends and other authors, such as Elizabeth Bishop; Caroline Gordon and her husband, Allen Tate; Iris Murdoch; Eudora Welty; her mother, Regina Cline O'Connor, who lived with her; and Robert and Sally Fitzgerald, with whom she stayed in Connecticut in 1949. She writes about her swans and their illnesses, about her own illness and deteriorating health, about Princeton, Princeton University, and the people she knew there, and she makes references to her work, such as writing the introduction to A Good Man is Hard to Find. In a letter dated 12 Novermber 1960, she explains how the ladies of the South voted for Richard Nixon rather than John F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential election campaign. Thirty of the letters are typewritten and signed by O'Connor, and eight are handwritten, particularly the later ones when she was suffering from symptoms of lupus and was in the hospital.
The letters are arranged in chronological order.
The letters were purchased in 1986.
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Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.
No appraisal information is available.
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.