Papers of Randall Jarrell (1913–1992 [Bulk: 1939-1966], undated) documenting the life and literary career of the noted Nashville, Tennessee-born American poet, literary critic, children's author, essayist, novelist, and educator; including his childhood and education in Nashville, his education at Vanderbilt University, where he studied under Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, and John Crowe Ransom; his career of teaching English Literature at Kenyon College, University of Texas at Austin, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina; his service, during World War II, in the U. S. Army Air Corps; his numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, in 1947-1948, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1951, the National Book Award in 1961, and as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1956-1958; including correspondence, literary essays, lists and notes, original art, photographic prints and negatives, manuscript and printed poems, manuscript volumes, oversized materials, audio materials, and loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection.
After receiving his masters' degree from Vanderbilt in 1938, Jarrell taught at the University of Texas at Austin from 1939 to 1942, where he met his first wife, Mackie Langham. In 1942 he left the university to join the United States Army Air Forces. The collection contains a significant amount of material relating to his military service. His war-time experiences inspired much of his early poetry. He later taught at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. and the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina. Early in the 1950's Jarrell and Mackie separated and divorced. Jarrell married his second wife Mary von Schrader Jarrell in 1952.
On October 14, 1965, Jarrell died while walking along a road in Chapel Hill near dusk. A car struck and killed him. The coroner ruled the death accidental, but Jarrell had recently been treated for mental illness and a previous suicide attempt, so some of the people closest to Jarrell suspected that he might have committed suicide. Jarrell's widow felt that his death was an accident. The collection contains a significant amount of material documenting Jarrell's mental and emotional difficulties including his final hospitalization and death in 1965. Considerable correspondence in the papers testifies to Mary Jarrell's opinions on this subject.
Sources: "Randall Jarrell" [Biographical Sketch] Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_Jarrell
Author: Jonathan Dembo, 11/2/2011, 9/17/2012, 11/1/2011; revised by Dick Wolfe, 6/11/2012, revised by Jonathan Dembo, 6/18/2016.
In the fall of 1966, Wright enrolled at Wake Forest University as a pre-med, history, German and music student. Wright earned a B.A. in German and music in 1970. As a graduate student at Wake Forest University, Wright focused his studies on Southern history and literature, his ambition being to build an authoritative Southern Studies collection for the university. He received a master's degree in Southern Studies in 1973 and a second master's degree in U.S. History in 1980. Additionally Wright holds a professional degree from England in a medically related field. It was while studying there that he became interested in Thomas Wolfe, the noted North Carolina native and novelist.
Following his graduation from Wake Forest, Wright began to develop his collections more systematically, acquiring many first editions of Southern writers. In 1976 he began teaching at Reynolda House, a Wake Forest University affiliate dedicated to the arts and arts education. Wright taught classes in American music as well as human anatomy for art students. In 1978 Wright became Lecturer in Education at Wake Forest University. During his 10 years teaching at Wake Forest University, Wright authored numerous works of Civil War and North Carolina history, and dozens of articles, bibliographies, essays and reviews on Southern literature and the writers whose papers he collected. In addition, he developed a strong interest in the writings of the English poet Donald Davie and the Minnesota-born poet Richard Eberhart, whose works he also collected.
At the same time, Wright also began a career as a publisher by starting Palaemon Press in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. By 1984, Palaemon Press had produced 316 titles, consisting mainly of broadsides and limited editions, of the poetry and essays of such Southern writers as A. R. Ammons, Fred Chappell, James Dickey, William Goyen, George Garrett, and Eudora Welty. He also built comprehensive collections and compiled book-length descriptive bibliographies of A.R. Ammons, Andrew Lytle, Reynolds Price, James Dickey, William Goyen, Walker Percy, Randall Jarrell, Peter Taylor, George Garrett, Richard Eberhart, and Donald Davie. As well as serving as editor of the contemporary literature section of the Bulletin of Bibliography throughout the 1980s, Wright also contributed pioneering checklists of the writings of Southern poets Henry Taylor, Charles Wright, and Robert Morgan. For Meckler Publishing he served as series editor for a number of book-length bibliographies and checklists. In recognition of these accomplishments, when he was just 32, Wright was elected to membership in New York's prestigious Grolier Club.
All of these works are represented in the Stuart Wright Collection. In his dealings with these various authors Wright made consistent efforts to acquire personal papers, letters and documents, photographs, manuscripts, drafts, proofs, and published materials to supplement his continuing activities as a purchaser of their works. In this way, Wright acquired perhaps a majority of his overall collection. Over the years a number of biographers used Wright's collection to aid their research. For example, James A. Grimshaw, Jr. used the collection extensively for his Robert Penn Warren: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1922-1979 published by the University Press of Virginia, in 1981 and Craig S. Abbott did so as well for John Crowe Ransom: A Descriptive Bibliography, published by Whitston Publishing Company, Inc. in 1999. Joseph Blotner also used the Wright collection in researching Robert Penn Warren: A Biography, published by Random House in 1997.
Nevertheless, from the mid- to late 1980s, Wright began to look for a permanent home for his collection, which he felt had grown too large and yet had been too little used. Unable to find a repository willing to accept the entire collection under suitable conditions, he sold a number of individual author collections to Vanderbilt University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Emory University. It was not until 2010 that he reached agreement to house the remaining, and largest part of his collection at East Carolina University. The Stuart Wright Collection in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection of J.Y. Joyner Library includes 22 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers. The related Stuart Wright Book Collection holds several thousand volumes by or about many of the same writers. Many of these volumes contain annotations, inscriptions, and insertions that reveal much about the authors in the collection and their relationships with one another. In 1998 Wright moved to England, and since 2001 he has resided in the medieval market town of Ludlow, in Shropshire.
Stuart Wright Collection: Randall Jarrell Papers (#1169-005) document the life and literary career of Randall Jarrell, 1913-1992. The Jarrell Papers are arranged in original order in 15 series, including an initial acquisition of 13 series and Cary Addition #1 and Ludlow Addition #2. The collection contains varied material relating to Randall Jarrell's life, family, and literary career, including material compiled and added to the collection by his widow and by Stuart Wright. The material is especially helpful for documenting Jarrell's relationships with Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, and Robert Penn Warren among others and the origin and development of his literary ideas and style. It contains material in English, German and Greek language.
Series 1: Correspondence contains letters to and from Robert Penn Warren, Randall Jarrell, Mrs. Mary von Schrader Jarrell, and others, 1946-1975. Series 1 is held in Box 1.a – 1.zd.
Series 2: Notes consists of literary and personal notes on books and articles Randall Jarrell was writing, ca. 1964. Series 2 is held in Box 1.ze – 1.zm.
Series 3: Lists consists of literary and personal lists on books, music, and articles Randall Jarrell was writing, ca. 1963-1965. Series 3 is held in Box 2.a – 2.d.
Series 4: Literary Essays contains two undated articles by Randall Jarrell entitled John Ransom's Poetry; Man und Frau im Essigkrug [Man and Woman in Vinegar Jug]; also an undated article by May Swenson entitled Unpronouncibility of Certain Names. Series 4 is held in Box 2.e – 2.g.
Series 5: Poems contains early proofs of poems written by Randall Jarrell, 1934-1965. Series 5 is held in Box 2.h – 2.zw.
Series 6: Manuscript Volumes consists of early edited manuscripts of works by Randall Jarrell, 1926-1965, and 1989. Among the most interesting items in this series are Jarrell's early poetry notebooks from the period 1939-1965 and his World War II diary. Series 6 is held in Boxes 2.zy – 5.n.
Series 7: Miscellaneous Materials consists of pamphlets, financial records, and other materials, 1942-1965. Series 7 is held in Boxes 5.o – 5.q.
Series 8: Printed Materials consists of printed correspondence, dust jackets, and periodicals relating to Randall Jarrell, ca. 1935-1983. Series 8 is held in Boxes 5.r – 6.g
Series 9: Loose Manuscripts Transferred from Stuart Wright Book Collection contains loose manuscript materials transferred from the books in the Stuart Wright Book Collection by, about, or previously owned by Randall Jarrell. The material consists of notes, cards, correspondence, clippings, advertising, reviews, ephemera, printed materials, etc., 1913-1989 [Bulk: 1920-1965] that either Jarrell or Stuart Wright interfiled in the books. Among the more interesting items in this series is Robert Graves' 1925 letter supporting John Crowe Ransom candidacy for a Guggenheim fellowship. The loose manuscripts are linked to the book of origin by their Stuart Wright Book Collection Number (e.g. Stuart Wright Book Collection #38.04). Series 9 is held in Box 6.a – 7.zc.
Series 10: Audio Recordings consists of an audio recording by Randall Jarrell entitled "Spoken Words: Bat Poet Tape, 11 September 1964". Series 10 is held in Box 8.a.
Series 11: Photographic Prints and Negatives consists of photographs & negatives of and by Randall Jarrell, 1916-1965. Among the most interesting items in this series is a photograph of the Gotham Book Mart Party for Dame Edith Sitwell in 1948. The photograph features many of the most prominent literary figures in English literature, including: William Benet, Charles Ford, Delmore Schwartz, Randall Jarrell; Stephen Spender, Sir Osbert Sitwell, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop; Marya Zaturenska, Horace Gregory, Tennessee Williams, Richard Eberhart, Gore Vidal, Jose Garcia Via, and W. H. Auden. Series 11 is held in Box 8.b – 8.l
Series 12: Manuscript Materials and Periodicals consists of manuscript materials & periodicals containing articles about Randall Jarrell, 1960-1971. Series 12 is held in Box 8.m – 8.q.
Series 13: Oversized Materials consists of proofs & broadsides of poems written for the University of North Carolina Greensboro Library, 1955; also the reprint of a speech by Randall Jarrell, 1966. Series 13 is located in 3 oversize folders removed from Boxes 2 & 7: #2.zb.os.1 - #7.s.os.2 - #7.t.os.3
Series 14: Cary Addition to Stuart Wright Collection contains a pamphlet and loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, 1920-1981. Box 8.r-8.t
Series 15: Ludlow Addition to Stuart Wright Collection contains loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, printed material and a letter from Lytle to Rust Hills, 1957-1992. Box 8.u-8.v
Note to Researchers: Series 9, 14, & 15: Loose Manuscripts Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection consists of items found laid in works in the Stuart Wright Book Collection by, about, associated with, or owned by Randall Jarrell. They include notes and bookmarks inserted by Jarrell, Stuart Wright, and others; also notes, cards, correspondence, clippings, advertising, reviews, ephemera, etc. relating to his published works. The loose manuscripts are linked to the books from which they came by their Stuart Wright Book Collection Number (e.g. Stuart Wright Book Collection #40.15).
Purchased from Stuart Wright, 6/21/2010, 10/27/2011, 7/20/2012
Processed, Container list & Preliminary inventory, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Krystal Cook, Nathaniel King, Jay Colin Menees, Saundra Pinkham, Cynthia Sharp & Saundra Pinkham, revised 11/19/2010, 10/22/2017 & 4/22/2016; Final inventory by Krystal Cook revised 3/1/2011; revised by Douglas Tuers 4/13/2011; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo 11/2/2011, 5/13/2013; revised by Dick Wolfe, 6/11/2012; revised by Jonathan Dembo, 2/21/2018
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.