Flannery O'Connor correspondence collection
Scope and Contents
The Flannery O'Connor correspondence collection, 1963-1969, consists of letters between O'Connor and College of Notre Dame administrators and students regarding her lecture on October 17-18, 1963. Twelve of the fifteen letters are typed or handwritten by O'Connor to Sister Maura Eichner, Sister Bridget Marie, Sister David, and student newspaper editors, Nancy Lane and Julie Preis. Three letters are written by Sister Bridget Marie to confirm O'Connor's arrival date in Baltimore and the title of her lecture. The collection includes comments students gave the College of Notre Dame about O'Connor's lecture and a headshot she sent Miss Lane and Miss Preis to advertise the lecture in the school newspaper. The headshot is enclosed with a letter requesting its return, but the editors evidently forgot to do so as the photograph remains with the collection. O'Connor's October 1963 letter to Sister Maura thanks her for the poetry she sent and asks for prayers for her March 25th birthday. The final letter to Sister Maura, dated March 25, 1964, sends thanks for another poem and wishes Sister Maura a blessed Easter as O'Connor recovers from a recent surgery. The collection concludes with photographs related to O'Connor's Notre Dame visit as well as slides of Andalusia Farm, dated 1968 and 1969. The slides appear to have been taken during two trips to view the property after O'Connor's death.
- Creation: 1963 - 1964
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is located at the Loyola Notre Dame Library. Contact Archives and Special Collections for more information.
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The Flannery O'Connor correspondence collection are the physical property of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Notre Dame Library. Copyright, except in cases where material has passed into the public domain, belongs to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.
Biographical / Historical
Mary Flannery O'Connor was born March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia and raised a devout Catholic. She and her parents moved to Milledgeville, Georgia in 1940 to live on Andalusia Farm. O'Connor's father passed away in February 1941 from lupus, an autoimmune disease that would affect her later in life. She graduated from high school in 1942 as the school newspaper's art editor and continued as a cartoonist for Georgia State College for Women's newspaper until graduation in 1945. O'Connor was accepted into the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1946 and earned her master's degree the following year. While enrolled in the writers' workshop, she met many important literary figures who taught in the program and would eventually publish her writing. She moved to Connecticut in 1948 upon the invitation of Robert Fitzgerald, a classics translator.
O'Connor's first novel, Wise Blood, was published in 1952 followed by the short story collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, in 1955. She would go on to publish one more novel, The Violent Bear It Away, in 1960 and two more posthumous short story collections in 1965 and 1971. In 1952, O'Connor was diagnosed with lupus and returned to Andalusia Farm. Despite her failing health, she continued to write short stories, corresponded with other writers, and gave over sixty lectures. O'Connor passed away on August 3, 1964 at age 39. Andalusia Farm is currently a museum dedicated to O'Connor's work. Historical information adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flannery_O%27Connor (accessed June 2019).
Biographical / Historical
Sister Bridget Marie Engelmeyer was born Mary Engelmeyer in 1905 in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in 1926 and a master’s degree from the Catholic University of America. Sister Bridget Marie entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1937 and professed vows in 1940. She taught at Malden High School in Massachusetts before returning to Baltimore to teach at the Institute of Notre Dame.
In 1941, Sister Bridget Marie began a sixty-year tenure at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Over that period, she served as the registrar, academic dean, Director of Developmental Research, archivist, assistant archivist, and archival consultant. She was also an Associate Professor of English, a role she kept through spring 1993 when she taught her final John Milton course while legally blind. Sister Bridget Marie established the Lecture and Performing Arts Program, which welcomed many accomplished writers, and published three volumes of her own poetry. She remained a beloved member of the Notre Dame community until her death in February 2001. Historical information adapted from https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2001-02-21-0102210064-story.html (accessed February 2019)
Biographical / Historical
Sister Maura Eichner was born May 5, 1915 in New York City. She entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1933 and professed vows in 1936. Sister Maura taught at St. Mary School in Annapolis, Maryland from 1936 to 1938 and Notre Dame High School, then located on the College of Notre Dame of Maryland campus, from 1938 to 1941. In 1942, she began teaching in the College of Notre Dame of Maryland's English Department and remained a faculty member for the next fifty years. Sister Maura received multiple distinguished teaching awards and published more than 350 poems in newspapers, literary magazines, and journals throughout her fifty-year teaching career. She maintained close relationships with past students and Notre Dame faculty until her passing on November 15, 2009 at age 94.
Historical information adapted from:
https://www.archbalt.org/school-sister-of-notre-dame-remembered-as-professor-poet-and-inspiration/ (accessed April 2009)
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44381386/maura-eichner (accessed April 2009)
.24 Cubic Feet (1 legal half-sized document box)
Language of Materials
The Flannery O'Connor correspondence collection, 1963-1969, consists of letters between O'Connor and College of Notre Dame administrators and students concerning her lecture in October 1963. Twelve out of the fifteen letters are typed or handwritten by O'Connor to Sister Maura Eichner, Sister Bridget Marie, Sister David, and student newspaper editors Nancy Lane and Miss Preis. Mary Flannery O'Connor was born March 25, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia. O'Connor's first novel, Wise Blood, was published in 1952 followed by the short story collection, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, in 1955. She would go on to publish one more novel, The Violent Bear It All Away, in 1960 and two more posthumous short story collections in 1965 and 1971. O'Connor passed away on August 3, 1964 after a long battle with lupus.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was found in an "Events" folder while Notre Dame of Maryland University prepared for the Class of 1960's 50th reunion.
This collection was processed in 2019 by Shavonne Munnlyn.
- Guide to the Flannery O'Connor correspondence collection
- Shavonne Munnlyn
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description