News Release: Arts and Humanities, University News

Jan. 16,  2009

Fitzgerald Papers Give Insights on Flannery O'Connor's Life, Work

Beck Foundation, Vasser Woolley Foundation Bring Papers to Emory

The papers of a pre-eminent scholar on Flannery O'Connor's life and work have been acquired by Emory University and are being reviewed and prepared for future use by O'Connor scholars.

The collection of letters, literary manuscripts, photographs and research materials belonging to the late Sally Fitzgerald are now at Emory's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL). Fitzgerald, who died in 2000, was close friend of O'Connor, editor of three books on O'Connor and her work, and a former research associate in the Institute for the Liberal Arts at Emory. Her papers were placed at Emory with funding from the Lewis H. Beck Educational Foundation and the Vasser Woolley Foundation, says Vice President and Secretary of the University Rosemary Magee.

"We appreciate the commitment of the Beck Foundation and the Vasser Woolley Foundation to bringing the papers here, where scholars can study them alongside other in-depth O'Connor resources," Magee says.

"Given her lifelong association with literary works, her commitment to the development of archives generally and her relationship with Flannery O'Connor, Emory is the perfect place for Sally Fitzgerald's papers to be," notes Magee, a published author and O'Connor scholar. "In addition, Sally had a recurring presence on our campus for almost two decades as a scholar, teacher and colleague."

O'Connor lived with Sally and Robert Fitzgerald and their children on a farm in rural Connecticut for two years (1949-50). They remained close personal friends until O'Connor died in 1964. After O'Connor's death, Sally and Robert Fitzgerald edited "Mystery and Manners; Occasional Prose" (1969). Sally Fitzgerald followed that with "The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor," which won a National Book Critics Circle Award (1979), and the Library of America edition of O'Connor's "Collected Works" (1988). Sally Fitzgerald published numerous essays on O'Connor as well, and at the time of her death was working on a much longer unfinished work on O'Connor's life.

In addition to voluminous research files on O'Connor, Fitzgerald's papers include 84 letters written by O'Connor to Sally and Robert Fitzgerald between 1951 and 1964, as well as letters from O'Connor to her longtime editor Catherine Carver of Harcourt Brace. Carbon typescripts of the O'Connor stories include "The Enduring Chill," "A View of the Woods," "Everything that Rises Must Converge," "Judgment Day," and a complete typescript of O'Connor's second novel, "The Violent Bear It Away" (1960).

The Beck and Vasser Woolley foundations announced their support for the acquisition at a recent celebration honoring Steve Enniss, outgoing director of MARBL, for his 15 years of service to Emory. Enniss begins work this month as the Eric Weinmann Librarian of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

About Emory University Libraries

The Emory University Libraries in Atlanta and Oxford, Ga., are an intellectual commons for Emory University, Atlanta and the world. The nine libraries' holdings include more than 3.1 million print and electronic volumes, 40,000-plus electronic journals, and internationally renowned special collections.

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