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Collection Overview

Gordon, Caroline, 1895-1981
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Caroline Gordon Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1939-1982 (mostly 1970-1980)
1 box and 0.40 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1


Consists of selected papers of American novelist Caroline Gordon, including some of her correspondence with various family members, friends, and literary associates.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of selected papers of Gordon including some of her correspondence with various family members, friends, and literary associates, such as Matthew Bruccoli, Allen Tate Wood, Nancy Wood, Sally Wood Kohn, Joseph Horrell, Amelia Wood Silver, Madeleine L'Engle, and Sister Eileen Campion. In a lengthy letter (1976) to her granddaughter, Caroline Wood Fallon, Gordon discusses the art of writing and provides examples of poems and diagrams of various points of view. Also included are Gordon's review of Robert Fagles' translation of Oresteia and a few photographs of Gordon.

A further accession includes forty-two letters (1962-1963) to Gordon from the young author Joan Thomas, four letters (1962-1963) from Gordon to Thomas, and 16 pages of typed poems, probably by Thomas which she sent to Caroline Gordon for her literary advice.

The following standard abbreviations, or their variations, are used to identify materials in this collection: ALsS = autograph letters signed, AMs = autograph manuscript, ANS = Autograph Note Signed, L = Letter, TLS = Typewritten Letter Signed, TMs = typewritten manuscript.


Arranged in accession number order.

Collection Creator Biography:

Gordon, Caroline, 1895-1981

Caroline Ferguson Gordon was an American teacher, literary critic and novelist. Born on October 6, 1895, she grew up on a farm in Kentucky. Gordon graduated from Bethany College in West Virginia, in 1916 and began her career working as a writer for the Chattanooga Reporter until 1924. In 1925 she married Allen Tate, a poet and literary critic associated with the Southern Agrarian literary movement. Together they pursued their careers in writing, forging close bonds with other writers such as Robert Lowell, Hart Crane, Flannery O'Connor and Katherine Anne Porter. In 1931, Caroline published her first novel, Penhally, and in 1934 released her most popular work Aleck Maury, Sportsman. "Old Red," her best known story, published in Scribner's Magazine, was awarded a second-place O. Henry Award in 1934. She also received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1932. Her relationship with Tate grew volatile, and they divorced, remarried, and finally divorced permanently in 1959. Caroline continued to move around the country throughout her life, living at various times in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, and Washington state. In 1978 she moved to San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, to be with her daughter and died there on April 11, 1981.

Collection History


Purchased from Amelia Wood Silver in 1995. Letter to Sister Eileen Campion was purchased from David Holmes in 1996. Additions were purchased from Caroline Wood Fallon in 2001-2003. Letter to Margaret Roberts is a gift of Prof. Deborah Core.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Biography written by Alyxandra Cullen, '09.

During 2022, restrictions were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Caroline Gordon Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1