New York Public Library

Manuscripts and Archives Division

New York, NY

Collection: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Records 1899-2003

Arrangement: Letters relating to O’Connor are found in Box 266, 267, 268, 516, and 550. O'Connor's manuscript material are on microfilm on reels 74 and 76. Photographs are in box 527.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux was founded in 1945 by John Farrar and Roger W. Straus III.In 1955, Robert Giroux left Harcourt Brace, where he had been Flannery O’Connor’s editor, and joined Farrar, Straus and Cudahy as Editor-In Chief and Vice-President.O’Connor left Harcourt Brace in 1958 and signed a contract with Farrar, Straus and Cudahy that same year.Robert Giroux was assigned as her editor.In 1964, the company changed its name to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York Public Library).

The Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Records related to Flannery O’Connor document the publication history of her novels and short stories from 1958 to 1992.They chronicle book orders, film rights, foreign language rights, advance copies, reviews, contracts, royalty statements, and permissions.Correspondents represented in these papers include:Flannery O’Connor, Regina Cline O’Connor, Robert Giroux, Elizabeth McKee, Sally Fitzgerald, Robert Fitzgerald, and Maryat Lee.Since much of the correspondence found in this collection was written after her death, there are few letters directly to or from O’Connor.The items described in this entry are only the items in the Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Records addressed to or from O’Connor.

“Box 266,” in the folder entitled, “O’Connor Flannery, General Correspondence 1958-1967” holds four letters from October 1958 to August 1961 between O’Connor and Anne Brooks Murray, who was apparently Robert Giroux’s administrative assistant. The first, from O’Connor, thanks Murray for finding and sending mint seeds. The remaining letters discuss a trip O’Connor was planning to New York City, but apparently was unable to take. The two women also comment on Carson McCuller’s 1961 novel, Clock Without Hands.

In 1960, O’Connor began corresponding with the sisters at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta about a book they wanted to write dedicated to a young cancer victim, named Mary Ann Long, for whom the sisters had cared for nine years (CW 1252).While O’Connor was not interested in writing the book, she agreed to contribute the introduction. A Memoir of Mary Ann was eventually published by Farrar, Straus and Cudahy in 1961.Later, in 1964, Mary Ann’s parents attempted to sue the sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help for writing the book about their daughter without their permission. The lawsuit was eventually dropped when the sisters were able to produce letters as evidence that Mary Ann’s parents had, indeed, given publishing permission to Our Lady of Perpetual Help (CW 1255).

“Box 267,” in the folder entitled, “O’Connor, Flannery – A Memoir of Mary Ann – General – 1962-1973,” contains three letters from O’Connor to Robert Giroux written between January 1961 and March 1964, and a single letter to O’Connor from Paula Diamond, the Director of Subsidiary Rights at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, dated March 1962.The 1961 letter from O’Connor was apparently enclosed with a draft of A Memoir of Mary Ann. O’Connor mentions to Giroux that the draft manuscript contains the Bishop’s suggested changes. The letter also includes O’Connor’s discussion of the sisters’ suggested changes. O’Connor’s 1962 letter to Giroux concerns the use of A Memoir of Mary Ann by United Features Syndicate and Good Housekeeping. The 1962 letter from Paula Diamond was written on Giroux’s behalf and addresses O’Connor’s concerns about the use of the story by United Features Syndicate and Good Housekeeping. O’Connor’s final letter to Giroux, dated March 7, 1964 is a two-page, handwritten letter in which she mentions that she has undergone surgery and has just been released from the hospital. She also expresses her disgust over the Longs’ lawsuit against the sisters at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, mentions a letter of permission the Longs had written to the sisters, and a recalls a visit the Longs had with her at Andalusia.

Collection: Yaddo Records

Arrangement: O'Connor's letters are located in Box 272, Folder 10.

O’Connor received an invitation in 1948 to be a resident at Yaddo, an artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York. While living at Yaddo, she met other writers and continued her work on Wise Blood. O’Connor’s intended stay was cut short, however, amid controversy over long time Yaddo guest, Agnes Smedley, who was accused of being a communist spy in a New York Times article published on February 11, 1949. During this controversy there were only four guests at Yaddo: Robert Lowell, Edward Maisel, Elizabeth Hardwick, and Flannery O’Connor. When the four artists-in-residence discovered that Yaddo and its director, Elizabeth Ames, had been under investigation by the FBI, Lowell convinced them that that Yaddo had knowingly sheltered a Communist sympathizer. The group, led by Robert Lowell, then approached the Yaddo board and voiced its concerns. After two hearings, the board found Ames innocent of any wrongdoing. Amid the publicized controversy, O’Connor, along with the other guests, left Yaddo.

The Yaddo records were transferred from the Corporation of Yaddo to the New York Public Library Archives in November 1999.The collection holds three letters from O’Connor from November 1947 to July 1948.The letters are to Elizabeth Ames inquiring about applying to the artists’ community. The collection also contains O’Connor’s Yaddo application and reportedly has papers related to the Communist controversy.