Papers of Merrill Moore (1929–1987, undated) documenting the life and literary career of the noted Columbia, Tennessee-born American poet, physician and psychiatrist, who became a leader and spokesman for the Fugitive Group of Southern poets that included Robert Penn Warren and Allen Tate, among others; including correspondence, manuscript materials, printed materials and loose manuscript materials from the Stuart Wright Book Collection.
Sources: "Merrill Moore." [Biographical Sketch] Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merrill_Moore
Author: Jonathan Dembo, 6/1/2011; revised by Dick Wolfe, 8/10/2011; revised by Jonathan Dembo, 6/14/2012, 11/18/2016.
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: Merrill Moore Papers (#1169-007) document the life and literary career Merrill Moore from 1929 - 1987, including material compiled and added to the collection by Stuart Wright. The Moore Papers are arranged in original order in 2 series. The material covers most of his career and includes posthumous material. The material is especially helpful for documenting Moore's relationships with John Ciardi, Richard Ghormley Eberhart and John Crowe Ransom, and to the origin and development of his literary ideas and style.
Series 1: Correspondence and Manuscript Materials contains correspondence with Richard Ghormley Eberhart and John Ciardi and magazine articles, documenting Moore's relationships with Eberhart and Ciardi and his medical service at Massachusetts General Hospital and as a psychiatrist during World War II in the South Pacific, 1943-1957. Series 1 is held in Box 1.a-1.d
Series 2: Loose Manuscripts Transferred from Stuart Wright Book Collection contains loose manuscript materials transferred from the books relating to Merrill Moore in the Stuart Wright Book Collection. The material consists of notes, cards, correspondence, clippings, periodicals, photographic prints, printed poems, ephemera, etc., 1929-1955 that either Moore or Stuart Wright interfiled in the books. It includes a news release on the publication of Clinical Sonnets that includes a biographical sketch of Moore's career to 1949. They include notes and bookmarks inserted by Moore, Stuart Wright, and others; including notes, cards, correspondence, clippings, advertising, photographic prints, reviews, ephemera, etc. relating to the published works. Several of them relate to his friend Richard Ghormley Eberhart. Of particular interest is Moore's Christmas Letter written to Eberhart in December, 1943, from "Somewhere in the South Pacific". It describes Moore's World War II military service, the conditions he encountered, and in which he describes Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to the front. Also included is an undated x-ray photograph of Merrill Moore's skull which he used to publicize The Noise that Time Makes (1929), and which he inscribed to John Crowe Ransom. Two items relate to Lewis Leary and John Crowe Ransom. 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 2 is held in Box 1.e – 1.j.
Note to Researchers: Series 2: Loose Manuscripts 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 Merrill Moore. They include notes and bookmarks inserted by Moore, 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
Processed, Container list & Preliminary inventory, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Krystal Cook, Cynthia Sharp, Saundra Pinkham, revised 11/19/2010; final inventory by Krystal Cook, revised 1/19/2011; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, revised by Dick Wolfe, 8/10/2011, revised by Jonathan Dembo, 6/14/2012; Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 7/5/2012; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 7/16/2012.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law
Stuart Wright Collection - Richard Ghormley Eberhart Papers (#1169-004) Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA
Stuart Wright Collection - John Crowe Ransom Papers (#1169-010) Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA
Stuart Wright Collection - Robert Penn Warren Papers (#1169-014) Manuscripts and Rare Books Department, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA