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Biographical Information on Flannery O'Connor

The Jean W. Cash Collection

The Jean W. Cash Collection contains research materials compiled by Dr. Jean W. Cash, James Madison University (VA), for the biography, Flannery O'Connor, A Life, published in 2002 by the University of Tennessee Press.  The collection includes correspondence, notes regarding interviews, audio recordings of interviews conducted between 1989 and 1993, and questionnaires.  The box list contains descriptions of the materials.

Arrangement Note

Dr. Cash donated her research materials to Special Collections in April 2008. The materials are organized by physical content, i.e., audio cassettes, correspondence, questionnaires, clippings, and articles. 

Scope and Content

The Jean W. Cash papers consist of research materials gathered by Dr. Cash for her biography of Flannery O'Connor. 

Listed below are categories of material donated:  

  • Taped interviews and transcripts of phone interviews with a number of O'Connor's relatives and friends from Savannah, including one with Sister Consolata, O'Connor's third grade teacher.  Other tapes from Savannah are copies of interviews conducted by Hugh Brown shortly after he established the Foundation that purchased O'Connor childhood home in Savannah in the late 1980s;
  • Taped interviews with a number of her friends and acquaintances in Milledgeville (including a transcript of a telephone interview with Lila Blitch, her eighth-grade teacher); 
  • Interviews with two of her teachers at GSCW (George Beiswanger and Helen Greene), and questionnaires from a number of her classmates from the GSCW's Class of 1945;
  • Material from Cash's Iowa research-questionnaires from a number of her colleagues in the Workshop, as well as copies of letters and other material from the O'Connor, Stephen Wilbers, and Paul Engle files in the University of Iowa library;  taped interviews with Walter Sullivan and Andrew Lytle and also part of this material; 
  • Material concerning O'Connor's time at Yaddo, includes a Xeroxed copy of     Malcolm Cowley's notes from the episode involving Robert Lowell's attempt to remove Elizabeth Ames from her position as director of Yaddo;  a taped interview with Alfred Kazin, concerning his memories of O'Connor at Yaddo and during a visit to her in Milledgeville;
  • Tapes of interviews with some of O'Connor's friends during her last 12 years in Milledgeville, among them those with Mary Barbara Tate, William Kirkland, Ted Spivey, William Sessions, Robert Drake, and Tom and Louise Gossett;
  • Other miscellaneous materials.