Stuart Wright Collection: Robert Morgan Papers, 1967-1984

Manuscript Collection #1169-062

  • Descriptive Summary
     
    Title: Stuart Wright Collection: Robert Morgan Papers
    Creator: Banks, Russell, (b. 1940)
    Collins, Douglas
    Matthews, William, (William Procter), (1942-1997)
    Morgan, Robert, b. 1944
    Smith, Newton
    Wild, Peter, 1940-2009
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers of Robert Morgan (1967-1984) documenting the life and literary career of the noted North Carolina mountains-born American poet, short story writer, biographer and educator at Cornell University, 1971-, who specializes in Appalachian regional topics; consisting of correspondence with Stuart Wright, typescripts of his poem Glacier, a printed broadside of Portfolio / 1967: Lillabulero Press: Poems by Russell Banks – Douglas Collins – William Matthews – Robert Morgan – Newton Smith – Peter Wild (Chapel Hill, 1967); and an oversized newspaper entitled The Times Monitor, Ithaca, New York, (1984) inscribed by Robert Morgan to Stuart Wright.
    Extent: 0.35 Cubic feet, 0.35 Cubic feet, 1 archival box, 1 oversized archival folder,
  • Description
     

    The Stuart Wright Collection: Robert Morgan Papers are arranged in original order in a single series.

    Series 1: Cary Addition #1 to the Stuart Wright Collection consists of papers (1975-1984) documenting the life and literary career of Robert Morgan (b. 1944), the noted American poet, short story writer, biographer and educator at Cornell University, who specialized on Appalachian regional topics; including correspondence with Stuart Wright, typescripts of his poem Glacier, a printed broadside of Portfolio / 1967: Lillabulero Press: Poems by Russell Banks – Douglas Collins – William Matthews – Robert Morgan – Newton Smith – Peter Wild (Chapel Hill, 1967); and an oversized newspaper entitled The Times Monitor, Ithaca, New York, (1984) inscribed by Robert Morgan to Stuart Wright. Source: Cary Addition Boxes #074.000 & 123.000. Series 1 is housed in Box 1.a-1.c, os1

  • Biographical / Historical Note
     

    Robert Morgan was born on 3 October 1944, in Hendersonville, North Carolina and grew up on his family's farm in the Green River valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Morgan began his higher education at North Carolina State University studying engineering and applied mathematics. He quickly transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he graduated with a B.A. in English. He went on to receive his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina Greensboro in 1968.

    After graduating, Morgan worked odd jobs like house painting, farming, and being a salesman before accepting a teaching position at Cornell in 1971. While teaching, Morgan kept working on his writings – both poetry and prose -- that mostly center on life in Appalachia, and family history. Over his career, he has received many grants, fellowships, and awards including, National Endowment for the Arts grants (1974, 1981, 1987), Guggenheim fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, and his novel Gap Creek (1999) was a New York Times best seller and chosen to be featured on Oprah's Book Club. Over the years, Morgan has served as a visiting professor and writer at several institutions. In the spring of 2005 he held the Whichard Chair as visiting writer at East Carolina University.

    Sources:

    "Robert Morgan". [Biographical Sketch]. About. Accessed November 04, 2016. http://www.robert-morgan.com/about.

    "Robert Morgan". [Biographical Sketch]. Poetry Foundation. Accessed November 04, 2016. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/robert-morgan.

    "Robert Morgan". [Biographical Sketch]. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Morgan_(poet)

    Author: Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of John Leche, 11/4/2016, rev. 2/8/2017.

    Stuart Wright collected and compiled the Robert Morgan Papers. He was born, Stuart Thurman Wright, on 30 March 1948, in Roxboro, North Carolina. He was the son of Frances Critcher Wright (1919-2010) and Wallace Lyndon Wright (1921-1965). An avid reader as a boy, Wright developed a strong interest in the American Civil War and with his father toured many of the war's battlefields searching for artifacts and studying the history of the era. At the age of 12, he won a statewide "Johnny Reb" essay contest and by the age of 15 had visited every major battlefield of the Civil War. Wright attended Roxboro High School, from which he graduated in 1966. It was during these years that he developed an interest in collecting historical books and manuscripts and began relationships with a number of local collectors and dealers.

    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 106 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers, illustrators, composers, and publishers. 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.

    Author: Jonathan Dembo, 11/2/2016

  • Administrative Information
     
    Accessions Information

    27 October 2011, (Cary Addition #1), 0.35 cubic feet; 1 archival box & 1 oversized folder; 4 items; 14 p. Papers (1967-1984) documenting the life and literary career of Robert Morgan (b. 1944), the noted American poet, short story writer, biographer and educator at Cornell University, who specialized on Appalachian regional topics; including correspondence, typescripts, printed materials & oversized materials. Source: Cary Addition Boxes #074.000 & 123.000. Vendor: Stuart Wright

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Stuart Wright, 10/27/2011

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

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

    Preferred Citation

    Stuart Wright Collection: Robert Morgan Papers (#1169-062), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Nathaniel King & Jay Colin Menees, 12/8/2015, 2/15/2016, 9/7/2016; Final inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 8/26/2016, 9/26/2016; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 11/2/2016; Biographical Sketch, by Jonathan Dembo with the assistance of Dale Wetterhahn & John Leche, 4/26/2016, 11/4/2016, rev. 2/8/2017; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 2/8/2017.

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