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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:
Firestone Library (mss): 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


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.

Archival Appraisal Information:

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

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

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