Papers of R. H. W. Dillard (1965-1983 [Bulk: 1981-1983]) documenting the life and career of the Roanoke, Virginia-born American poet, author, critic, translator, who taught creative writing at Hollins College, Virginia, 1964- and edited The Hollins Critic literary journal, 1996-; consisting of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection volumes by Dillard entitled The Book of Changes (1974), The Day I Stopped Dreaming About Barbara Steele (1965), and The First Man on the Sun (1981, 1983), including advertising cards, publicity portraits, and a biographical sketch of Dillard by George Garrett (1929-2008); also Stuart Wright's correspondence with Annie [Meta Ann Doak] Dillard (1945-), to whom Dillard was married 1964-1975, and who was also a well-known poet, novelist and educator; and a typescript of The Affluent Beatnik (ca. 1966), by Annie Dillard.
Dillard has received many awards and honors during his career. He won the Academy of American Poets Prize, the O. B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize, and the Hanes Award for Poetry. He received the George Garrett Award for Service to Contemporary Literature by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. His writing shows the influence of both of his ex-wives Annie Dillard (m. 1964-1975) and Cathryn Hankla (1979-1992), both noted poets and academics. He was also influenced by Henry S. Taylor, Lee Smith, and Madison Smartt Bell, among others.
He published his first collection of poetry, The Day I Stopped Dreaming About Barbara Steele, in 1966, and has published regularly in the years since then. His novel, The Book of Changes, was published in 1974 and his volume The First Man on the Sun appeared in 1983.
Dillard was popular in school and socially and sometimes went overboard. She was in a car that crashed while drag racing. School officials suggested that her parents send her to a southern college to polish her rough edges and she ended up attending Hollins College in Virginia. There she met and married her English teacher, poet, Richard Dillard, who later directed the Creative Writing Program at Hollins. They married at the end of her sophomore year in June 1964. She then finished her B. A. (1967) and earned an M. A. (1968) in English at Hollins.
In the late 1960s, Dillard began writing both poetry and prose. Among the first poems she wrote was The Affluent Beatnik which appeared in George Garrett's collection The Girl in the Black Raincoat (New York, 1966). She published her first collection of poetry Tickets for a Prayer Wheel in 1974. She has published numerous collection of poetry since then. Also in 1974, she published Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1975. Many of the chapters in the book, based on her journals, was a non-fiction narrative about the natural world around Roanoke, Virginia, had previously appeared in major national journals.
In 1975, she divorced Richard Dillard and she moved from Roanoke, Virginia to Lummi Island near Bellingham, Washington, where she taught part-time and was writer-in-residence at Western Washington University until 1979. While at Western Washington, she met her second husband, Gary Clevidence, a writer and anthropologist, who taught at WWU's Fairhaven College. They married in 1979. The have a daughter, Cody Rose (b. 1984). Also in 1979, Dillard and her husband and her two step-daughters, moved to Middletown, Connecticut, where Dillard took the position of writer-in-residence at Wesleyan University where she remained until 2002, the last few years as professor emerita.
In 1988, after 12 years together, she and Clevidence divorced and Dillard married her third husband, Robert Richardson, (b. 1934), an historian and biographer of Thoreau (1986) and Emerson (1995). He is program chair for New Voices, at the Key West Literary Seminar. In 2015, he posted a biography of Annie Dillard on her official website.
"Biographical Sketch of R. H. W. Dillard," by George Garrett (1983) (#1169-101.1.c) Stuart Wright Collection: R. H. W. Dillard Papers, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. https://digital.lib.ecu.edu/special/ead/findingaids/1169-101
"R. H. W. Dillard". [Biographical Sketch] (2017) Encyclopedia.com. http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/culture-magazines/dillard-richard-henry-wilde
"R. H. W. Dillard". [Biographical Sketch] (2017) TheInfoList.com. http://www.theinfolist.com/php/HTMLGet.php?FindGo=R.%20H.%20W.%20Dillard
"R. H. W. Dillard". [Biographical Sketch] (2017) Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._H._W._Dillard
"Annie Dillard" (2017) TheInfoList.com. http://www.theinfolist.com/php/HTMLGet.php?FindGo=Annie%20Dillard
"Biography of Annie Dillard", by Bob [Robert D.] Richardson [Biographical Sketch] (2017) Annie Dillard Official Website. http://www.anniedillard.com/biography-by-bob-richardson.html
"Annie Dillard" (2017) [Website] Annie Dillard Official Website. http://www.anniedillard.com/
"Robert D. Richardson". [Biographical Sketch] (2017) Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_D._Richardson
"Cathryn Hankla". [Biographical Sketch] (2017) TheInfoList.com. http://www.theinfolist.com/php/HTMLGet.php?FindGo=Cathryn%20Hankla
Author: Jonathan Dembo, 3/7/2017, 3/27/2017.
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
Stuart Wright Collection: R. H. W. Dillard Papers (#1169-101) are arranged in original order in a single series.
Series 1: Ludlow Addition #2 to the Stuart Wright Collection consists of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection volumes by Dillard including The Book of Changes (1974), The Day I Stopped Dreaming About Barbara Steele (1966), and The First Man on the Sun (1983), including advertising cards, publicity portraits, and biographical sketches; also Stuart Wright's correspondence with Annie [Meta Ann Doak] Dillard (1945-), to whom Dillard was married 1964-1975, and who was also a well-known poet, novelist and educator; and a photocopy typescript of The Affluent Beatnik (ca. 1966), by Annie Dillard. Source: Ludlow Addition Box #164.018, 164.019, 164.022. Series 1 is held in Box 1.1-1.c.
Purchased from Stuart Wright, 7/20/2012
Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Nathaniel King, & Jay Colin Menees, 2/26/2016, 3/31/2016, 10/3/3016; Final inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 10/3/2016, 3/7/2017; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 10/3/2016; Biographical Sketch, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of John Leche, 7/16/2015, 9/22/2016, 3/7/2017; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 3/7/2017, 3/27/2017.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.