Papers of Fred Chappell (1952-2017, undated) documenting the life and literary career of the noted Canton, North Carolina-born American educator, short story writer, novelist, and educator, whose writing focus on Southern themes, consisting of correspondence, holographs, typescripts, loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, photographic prints, proofs of published works, audio recordings, printed materials & oversized materials; also including Chappell's correspondence with George Garrett, Stuart Wright and Wallace Fowlie, a clipping and a print of his poem The Collector (2011) written in honor of Stuart Wright, and a painting by Fritz Janschka.
In 1954, Chappell was accepted to Duke University where he formed friendships with William Applewhite and Reynolds Price. Chappell returned to Canton for three years during this time, delaying the completion of his BA degree in fiction writing until 1961. In 1964 he received an MA also from Duke, for which he wrote a 1,100-page concordance to the poetry of Samuel Johnson. On 2 August 1959, he married Susan Nicholls. Shortly after graduation, in 1964, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro hired Chappell to teach creative writing and literature; he remained there until retiring in 2004.
Chappell has written more than twenty-five books in several genres, mainly poetry, short stories and novels and won many honors for his work. Over the years, he has won Yale University Library's Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the Sir Walter Raleigh Prize, North Carolina Award for Literature, France's Prix de Meilleur des Livres Étrangers for the best foreign novel (Dagon), the Award in Literature from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the T.S. Eliot Award, the Aiken/Taylor Award, the poet laureateship of North Carolina (1997-2002), and in 2005, the Thomas Wolfe prize. In retirement Chappell continues to work and appeared as the featured speaker at The Inaugural Stuart Wright Collection Exhibition on 7 September 2011.
Among the works included in this collection are: Dagon: A Novel (1968), and I Am One of You Forever: A Novel (1985).
Sources: "Fred Chappell." [Biographical Sketch] Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Chappell
Author: Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Trisha Capansky, 11/21/2011, 1/23/2012, 11/1/2016
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.
Author: Jonathan Dembo, 9/17/2012, 11/1/2016
Stuart Wright Collection: Fred Chappell Papers (#1169-017) document the life and literary career of Fred Chappell, 1952-2016, undated. The Chappell Papers are arranged in 4 series of manuscript materials, consisting of an original acquisition of 2 series and 2 additions: The Cary Addition #1 and the Ludlow Addition #2. The original acquisition consists primarily of loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection. Among these loose manuscripts items is correspondence with George Garrett, Stuart Wright and Wallace Fowlie, and a clipping. The original acquisition also includes a printed copy of Chappell's heretofore unpublished poem, The Collector (2011), written in honor of Stuart Wright. It is filed in an oversized folder.
Series 1: Loose Manuscripts Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection consists of loose manuscript and other materials found between the leaves of volumes in the Stuart Wright Book Collection. Perhaps the most significant of these is Chappell's correspondence with George Garrett relating to Dagon. Series 1 is held in Box 1.a-1.f.
The letters and clipping were among the Loose Manuscript Items found in books in the Stuart Wright Book Collection. Several of these items were found in copies of his novels, including The Inkling (1965) and Dagon (1968), Moments of Light (1980), A Pact with Faustus (1984). Interestingly, Dagon (1968) was found to contain Chappell's correspondence with George Garrett relating to First and Last Words (1989). Moments of Light was Chappell's first collection of short stories.
In these books Chappell explored his intellectual passion for understanding man's place in the universal order of things by exploring such concepts as justice, morality, and destiny. The stories often have biblical overtones in that they are told in parables and describe man's fall from God's grace. In A Pact with Faustus (1984), Chappell revisits his early works by explaining the loosely drawn thematic method he used to write his first four novels. For example, he describes The Inkling as "a story about a boy who represents pure Will and his sister who is Appetite." The brother and sister live in a small town in western North Carolina, which like Canton, has a paper mill as its leading employer, symbolic of Chappell's also continued interests in the impact of industrialization.
Series 2: Oversized Print consists of a print of The Collector (1982) a poem by Fred Chappell about Stuart Wright printed for the inaugural Stuart Wright Collection exhibit opening at Joyner Library 7 September 2011. Series 2 is held in oversized folder 1.f.os.1.
Series 3: Cary Addition #1 to the Stuart Wright Collection is arranged in 10 subseries including correspondence; typescripts; loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection; proofs of published works; printed materials: brochures & broadsides; printed materials: reprints & offprints; printed materials: flyers; printed materials: pamphlets; printed materials: periodicals, magazines & newsletters; and oversized materials, 1952-2009. Series 3 is held in Box 2.a - 5.ze, os.2 - os.7
Series 4: Ludlow Addition #2 to the Stuart Wright Collection is arranged in 10 subseries, including correspondence; holographs & typescripts; loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection; photographic materials; proofs; audio recordings; printed materials: brochures, cards, flyers, & pamphlets; printed materials: periodicals; printed materials: reprints & offprints; and oversized materials, 1963-2016. Series 4 is held in Box 6.a - 8.zk, os.8 - os.11
Note to Researchers: Series 1: 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 Fred Chappell. They include notes and bookmarks inserted by Chappell, 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).
25 April 2016, (Addition #3), 0.002 cubic feet; 2 items, 2 p., Loose Manuscript Items from A Bravery of Earth, by Richard Eberhart (London: Jonathan Cape, 1930). Gift - Donor: Stuart T. Wright; received through Phil Winstead, Cary, NC. 1) Stuart Wright note: "Given in honour of Fred Chappell on the occasion of his 80th birthday, 28 May 2016 . . .'' (ca. April 2016) AN 1 item. 1 p.; 2) Stuart Wright note to "cataloguer" (ca. April 2016) 1 item. 1 p. Donation received 25 April 2016, by Ralph Scott. 1) Ludlow Addition #216.001.
6 June 2019, (unprocessed Addition #4), 1.01 cubic feet; This addition includes correspondence (2008-2017) between Stuart Wright and Fred and Susan Chappell which also contains drafts of poems, photographs, and programs; and an original painting (2012) titled "René Magritte, Siegfried, Wo bist du?" (After "The Hat" by René Magritte) by Fred Chappell's good friend, artist and illustrator, Fritz Janschka. The painting is part of Janschka's Homages to the Masters (and Mistresses) series. Gift of Stuart T. Wright
Purchased from Stuart Wright, 6/21/2010, 10/27/2011, 7/20/2016; Gift of Stuart Wright in honor of Fred Chappell's 80th birthday, 4/25/2016
Processing, Container List & Preliminary inventory by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Nathaniel King, Jay Colin Menees, Krystal Cook, Saundra Pinkham & Douglas Tuers, revised 11/19/2010, 11/1/2016; Final inventory revised by Douglas Tuers, 2/14/2011, 4/27/2011, 11/1/2016; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, Trisha Capansky revised, 11/21/2011, 1/23/2012, 11/1/2016; Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 6/29/2012; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 7/18/2012, 11/1/2016; Stuart Wright biography revised by Jonathan Dembo, 9/17/2012, 11/1/2016
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
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