Washington University

Special Collections

Collection: George Marion O’Donnell Papers 1914-1962

Collection ID: MSS: 76-853

Arrangement: The O’Donnell Collection is arranged alphabetically by the author's last name.

The correspondence in this collection is from Flannery O’Connor to G. Roysce Smith, a friend of George Marion O’Donnell. O’Connor first started writing to Smith while he worked in the book department of Davison’s, a department store in Atlanta. Smith left Atlanta in 1957 for the Yale “Co-op” where he worked until 1971 (“G. Roysce” 16).

The collection contains seventeen letters, all written by O’Connor from October 1952 through December 1959, with most of the correspondence occurring between 1952 and 1957. Until 1956, the letters are only brief notes in which O’Connor discusses her book orders. At some point, Smith apparently asks O’Connor if she would be willing to be interviewed on the radio. She declines, stating that she “sounds like Miss Delayed Development” when she is interviewed. She eventually agrees to read her story “The Life You Save May Be Your Own" for a radio production and comments on an upcoming television production of the same story. The last two items of correspondence in the file are Christmas cards O’Connor sent to Smith after he moved from Georgia. The collection also contains an announcement that O’Connor had been awarded the Georgia Writers Association’s Literary Achievement Award for Fiction for 1955.