Papers of James Dickey (1950-1994) documenting the life and literary career of the noted Atlanta, Georgia-born American poet, novelist and essayist, including correspondence, manuscripts, photographic prints, proofs of published works, reviews of published materials, printed material, loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection and oversized materials, by or about James Dickey, Louis Untermeyer, and others.
After the war, Dickey earned both bachelors and masters degrees from Vanderbilt University. At the start of the Korean War he was recalled to service, and served as a trainer. Dickey began writing poetry in high school but it was during his World War II military service that it became his main professional interest. Dickey ultimately published more than 25 books of poetry, 3 novels, and 2 screen plays, and served as a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress from 1966 to 1968. He taught at several colleges and universities and concluded his teaching career at the University of South Carolina from 1969 until his death in 1997.
Dickey may be best known for his best-selling 1970 novel Deliverance. Deliverance also became a successful film that was nominated for 3 Academy Awards in 1973. Dickey even played a featured role in the film as a local sheriff. He died in Columbia, South Carolina on 19 January 1997.
Sources: "James Dickey." [Biographical Sketch] Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dickey
Author: Jonathan Dembo, 6/10/2013, 11/1/2016, 6/10/2013
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: James Dickey Papers (#1169-019) document the life and literary career of James Dickey, 1950-1994. The Dickey Papers are arranged in original order in 3 series consisting of an original acquisition and the Cary Addition #1 and the Ludlow Addition #2.
Series 1: Loose Manuscripts from Stuart Wright Book Collection consists of loose manuscripts and other materials found between the leaves of volumes in the Stuart Wright Book Collection. The materials consist of notes, letters, clippings, printed material and ephemera, 1933-1987, relating to James Dickey, and his publications. Perhaps the most interesting group of these items relates to Dickey's Poems 1957-1967 (1966). These items, transferred from the copy of the book in the Stuart Wright Book Collection, contains correspondence, biographical sketches, reviews and other items related to the publication of book. Also of significant interest is a letter from Dickey to Louis Untermeyer explaining his literary evolution which was found in Drowning with Others (1966). In Symbol and Image in the Shorter Poems of Herman Melville (1950) were found several early, informal, photographic prints of James Dickey ca. 1950s. Series 1 is held in Box 1.a – 1.d
Series 2: Cary Addition #1 to the Stuart Wright Collection is arranged in 7 sub-series, including correspondence between Dickey and Stuart Wright (1973-1990); loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection; photographic materials, audio recordings, proofs, printed materials: pamphlets & reprints, and oversized materials, 1967-1990. Series 2 is held in Box 1.e - 1.l, os.1, os.2
Series 3: Ludlow Addition #2 to the Stuart Wright Collection is arranged in 3 sub-series, including manuscripts, loose manuscript items transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, and oversized proofs of published works, 1950-1994. Series 3 is held in Box 1.m - 1.p, os.3
Note to Researchers: Series 1, 2, 3: 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 James Dickey. They include notes and bookmarks inserted by Dickey, 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
Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Saundra Pinkham, revised 11/19/2010; revised by Jonathan Dembo, 6/10/2013; Final inventory by Douglas Tuers, revised 1/24/2011; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 11/9/2011; Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 7/3/2012; Inventory revised 10/9/2013.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
James Dickey Papers (#MSS745) Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library, Emory University Libraries, Emory University, Atlanta, GA USA
James Dickey Papers (#MSS035) Department of Special Collections, Olin Library, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO USA