Sarah Allen Papers

Manuscript Collection #471
Allen, Sarah S.
Physical description
0.65 Cubic Feet, 62 items , consisting of manuscripts, correspondence, news releases, galley and page proofs, concerning novel Ginger Hill.
Preferred Citation
Sarah Allen Papers (#471), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1965-1983) including correspondence, news releases, galley and page proofs, concerning novel Ginger Hill.

Biographical/historical information

Sarah Allen of Kinston, N.C., wrote the novel Ginger Hill which was published by John F. Blair Publishing House of Winston-Salem, N.C. The manuscript, originally titled Rain on the River was begun during the late 1950s and completed in 1973-74. The novel is set in northeastern North Carolina during the depression years of the 1930s. The narrative is told by Ophelia, a fourteen-year old Negro girl, who lives with her mother, Cassie, and three other tenant families on Ginger Hill Plantation, a tobacco farm.

Scope and arrangement

Contained in this collection is correspondence (1971-1974) between Mrs. Allen and John Blair. In these letters, many fine points concerning Ginger Hill are discussed in great detail, such as dialect of the Negro characters; changes in the tobacco-planting chapter; time periods between chapters; accuracy concerning the river, which plays a significant symbolic role, as does the hurricane; the courtroom trial scene of Cassie; and the conclusion, in which the lives of all the characters are brought together for the reader. There is also an explanation of the conception and writing of Ginger Hill.

Literary manuscripts in this collection consist of an original draft and subsequent rewritten drafts. There are photocopies of notes and notations on the manuscript between Mrs. Allen and Guy Owen, a professor and novelist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who was instrumental in helping to ready the manuscript for publication. It was on Owen's advice that Ginger Hill was sent to John Blair for publication.

There is also the rewritten final version of the conclusion of Ginger Hill along with numerous redrafts and revisions. Finally, there are photocopies of news releases and reviews of the published book.

Administrative information
Custodial History

April 21, 1983, 19 items; Papers (1971-1973) concerning writing and publishing of novel Ginger Hill, including correspondence, novel drafts, and a statement.

May 24, 1983, 43 items; Papers (1965-1974), including correspondence, reviews, a novel draft, galley proofs, and page proofs. Gift of Mrs. Sarah Allen, Kinston, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Sarah Allen

Processing information

Processed by V. Leary, October 1987

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Allen, Sarah S. Ginger Hill
Allen, Sarah S.--Correspondence
Blair, John Fries, 1903-1986--Correspondence
African American women--Social conditions--20th century
Authors, American--20th century
Depressions--1929--North Carolina
Farm tenancy--North Carolina--History--20th century
Tenant farmers--North Carolina--History--20th century
Tobacco farms--North Carolina--History--20th century
North Carolina--Social conditions--20th century

Container list
Box 1 Correspondence (March 26, 1965 - May 23, 1983), original working manuscript and manuscript drafts
Box 2 Galley proofs, manuscript drafts
Box 3 Manuscript drafts, author's set of manuscripts, final drafts, and news releases