Kenyon College

Greenslade Special Collections and Archives

Gamblier, OH

Collection: The Kenyon Review Archives

Arrangement: The O’Connor letters in the Kenyon Review files are in the “Old Series” and then arranged by the author’s name.

John Crowe Ransom, the central figure of the Fugitives at Vanderbilt University in the 1920s, was founder and editor of the Kenyon Review, from 1939-1959. Ransom visited the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop while O’Connor was a student and chose to read one of her stories aloud while visiting a class (CW 1241). Ransom was impressed by her work and encouraged O’Connor to apply for The Kenyon Review Fellowship in Fiction, which she received in 1952 (CW 1246). O’Connor’s “The Life You Save May Be Your Own,” “A Circle in the Fire,” “The Artificial Nigger,” “Greenleaf,” and “The Comforts of Home” were accepted for publication by the Kenyon Review.

Most of the ten letters in the collection from O’Connor are short typed notes that were apparently enclosed with manuscript materials she sent to the Kenyon Review. The letters range in date from December 1952 to January 1961. Several of the letters include O’Connor’s notes of appreciation to the Kenyon Review for the fellowship she received at the end of 1952 and renewed in 1954. She also asks Ransom if she could use him as a reference in support of her Guggenheim Fellowship application. In her final letter to Ransom she expresses her disappointment with an illustration published with her story “The Comforts of Home” in the Autumn 1960 issue. She states that the journal has lost her as a contributor because of the use of the illustration. Also included in the collection is a letter from Ransom to O’Connor thanking her for submitting a story, and another from the Kenyon Review secretary returning her story “The River.”