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Flannery O'Connor collection

Identifier: Manuscript Collection No. 59

Scope and Content Note

This artificial collection of Flannery O'Connor letters, manuscripts, audio recordings, and printed items has been assembled from various sources (gifts and purchases) over many years. The earliest two items (circa 1937) relate to a childhood trip to Atlanta. The Dora Byron accession (3 items) relates to a proposed television appearance which O'Connor declined and to a reading she delivered at an adult evening course at Emory University around 1956. Also present are two photocopies of letters to Frank Daniel, letters to and from Marvin Whiting regarding a class visit to O'Connor's home, and two manuscripts of talks O'Connor delivered on the subject "How the Writer Writes" and "the problem of the southern writer." Also present is correspondence exchanged between David Estes (former Head of Special Collections) and O'Connor regarding her own personal papers.

In a series of eight letters to Joel Wells of the Critic magazine O'Connor discusses her own writing, the writing of others (James Gould Cozzens and J.F. Powers), an interview of O'Connor that appeared in the Critic, and other subjects. O'Connor's letters to Fred Darsey discuss a wide range of subjects from Darsey's flight from the hospital in Milledgeville, her own religious faith, Darsey's writing, her work, health, and daily farm life.

The collection also includes a series of letters between Robert Jiras, Flannery O'Connor, Regina O'Connor, and various film agents and producers (1956-1971) regarding a proposed film adaptation by Robert Jiras of O'Connor's short story "The River." This grouping also contains Jiras' story outline, a rough draft of the screenplay and a final copy of the screenplay.

O'Connor's letters to Mrs. Frank H. "Bobbie" Gafford, fellow Catholic, schoolteacher, graduate student in English literature of Birmingham, Alabama, date from 1958-1964. The letters mention day-to-day aspects of her life as a writer including speaking engagements and regularly address religious matters and the relationship between literature and belief. In addition, she offers encouragement to Gafford who is writing her thesis on O'Connor. The letters also contain passing references to other writers, including Caroline Gordon, Eudora Welty, John Ciardi, Connor Cruise O'Brien, Jack Hawkes, and Carson McCullars.

The Flannery O'Connor collection also contains some printed material including numerous clippings related to O'Connor's life and work and her freshman yearbook from Georgia State College for Women. The photographs include an early image of O'Connor at age five or six reading a book, a portrait of O'Connor later in life, and a portrait of Regina O'Connor. Also included is a photograph of Andalusia, O'Connor's home in Milledgeville, Georgia.

Further additions are listed in the container list.


  • circa 1937-2003

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Biographical Note

Mary Flannery O'Connor was born to Edward Francis and Regina Cline O'Connor in Savannah, Georgia, on March 25, 1925. She attended parochial schools in Savannah before moving to Milledgeville after the death of her father in 1941. After finishing high school in Milledgeville, she attended the Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College & State University) where she received a B.A. in social science in 1945. After graduating from college she earned a scholarship to the Iowa Writers Workshop. She graduated from Iowa in 1947, then spent parts of 1948 and 1949 at Yaddo, an artists' colony in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Her first published story, "Geranium," appeared in Accent magazine in the summer of 1946. Other stories followed while O'Connor also turned her attention to a novel. In 1950 she was diagnosed with lupus, the disease that had killed her father. While undergoing treatment for lupus, O'Connor finished and published Wise Blood in 1952. The following year her short story "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" was selected for the annual O. Henry prize stories anthology. During the 1954-1955 school year, O'Connor held a fellowship at the Kenyon Review.

Her first published collection, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, was published in 1955 and "The Artificial Nigger" was selected for the Best American Short Stories of 1956. Numerous other awards followed, including grants from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and from the Ford Foundation. In 1960, O'Connor published a second novel The Violent Bear It Away. She died of lupus on August 3, 1964.


6.25 linear feet (5 boxes; 1 oversized papers folder (OP); and 1 AV Master)


Articifical collection of material relating to Georgia-born author Flannery O'Connor including correspondence, manuscripts, and printed material.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by document type.


Gifts and purchases from various sources.

Related Materials in Other Repositories

Flannery O'Connor collection, Special Collections, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, Georgia

Related Materials in This Repository

Flannery O'Connor, Letters to Betty Hester and Floyd C. Watkins papers


Control level 3


File name: oconnor59.doc


Processed by Susan Potts McDonald, August 5, 2002.

Control level 3

File name: oconnor59.doc

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Flannery O'Connor collection, circa 1937-2003.
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University
July 21, 2010
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Repository

540 Asbury Circle
Atlanta Georgia 30322 United States