Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections

Cassette Tape 17 Side A -- Letters from Carson to Recipient / Blue Box




Cassette Tape 17 Side A -- Letters from Carson to Recipient / Blue Box


1959, 1963



Original Format

cassette tape




Margaret Sullivan reading Carson McCullers materials:

February 17, 1963 (?) First part of a letter previously read from Mrs. Jessie McFail Kimbrow [?] saying in part "As your and Grafton's birthday will be soon be here I've been thinking about years ago. We lived across the street from you on 13th until 1912 [sic] when I married. . . I remember when Margarite had you practice the piano. Do you remember that lovely old piano? I think it was the Carson piano. Margarite loved music very much. . . We used to play dolls a lot together. I always had a cat. Your mother couldn't stand cats. . . [The letter contains more reminisces about family and friends]

June 3, 1963 Carson's reply June 3, 1963 thanking her for her letter "which carried me back to Columbus and the old days when I was a child"

August 15, 1963 letter from Carson to Clara Spensen with a note, "Was not mailed at Mrs. McCullers request", saying she had not written because of so many things that have been going on, that they are hoping that Montgomery Clift will be well enough to play Singer in the movie of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, hoped you would have visited in the fall and now hopes that she will be her companion in Nyack, as she was to "that divine Tanya", adding that Clara's time would be mostly free. Carson then says, "I am not alone in Nyack. I have a most beloved friend, Dr. Mary E, Mercer, who lives in her beautiful house on top of a mountain. Spiritually we share our lives together and without her I would not have survived my life the last five years. She has the tranquility of Out of Africa . . . She was my psychiatrist and after treatment she became my best friend and medical coordinator. She talks to all the doctors and translates to me what they say", adding that Clara is the only person she could feel comfortable dictating to

drafts of letters to John L. Brown and his wife Simone with various dates in March [year unknown but probably 1958 or 1959 from Carson saying that she is looking forward to seeing them in Rome, recently had an occasion of heart failure while she was climbing the steps of her psychiatrist's snowy terrace, "this is a sour spring day" but I am thinking I am looking forward to them coming home, recovering from another attack of heart failure, talks of Baudelaire, "come soon, soon, soon", talking about finishing Clock Without Hands

June 27, 1963 letter from Gabriele C. Talle [?] of Diogenes Verlag in Zurich to Robert Lantz about publishing translation of Member of the Wedding and The Square Root of Wonderful

July 8, 1963 Carson's reply to Floria Lasky saying since "I do not like Square Root, that is not important to me, but the rights to Member are, Robbie is unable to act because of Audrey, Carson has never felt that she was the agent for her and says that Audrey met her through her friendship with Tennessee and came to Carson while she in the Neurological Hospital, she does not know my reputation in Europe, my wishes are for Robbie to handle all rights to my works, she thinks that she and Audrey should part and asks Floria to instruct Audrey to let Robbie handle all issues relating to the rights to Carson's works

May 11, 1963 letter from Edward Albee, apologizing for not writing in so long and thanking her for the children's verses she had sent him and for reading them to him last summer on Water Island, commenting on how important the sound of her voice in her wonderful writing. He suggests that she should record them, with incidental music between them and suggesting that she talk with Robbie and Mary, closing by hoping that he and Terrence can see them before long

May 28, 1963 Carson's reply to Albee thanks him for his comments about the children's verses and saying that she will share is comments with Robbie and Mary. She also asks him, when he sends the script for Ballad to put her part in capitals and triple space the lines "so that I will be able to read it easily it and perhaps memorize by the time we record it". She explains that she has an obscure neurological defect that causes her to skip two or three lines at the time and "that is the reason I cannot read aloud. I am not going to be nervous about this because you promised me that you would help me. Do you think Mary's tape recorder would do? And where should we do it?" She adds "Tom has done his film play of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter . . .Monty Clift is going to play in it. Mary [Mercer] suggests very firmly that the recording should be done in Nyack to save energy and breath"

April 2, 1963 letter from Elizabeth Schnack thanking Carson for her kind letter and saying that she is happy Carson is going to Charleston for the Easter weekend and will be sending her some postcards of a Swiss landscape that is associated with Annemarie, adding how happy she is that she is being looked after so well by her friend and her housekeeper, hopes to re-translate McCullers older works since she has done Clock without Hands and her newer works into German after she finishes Faulkner. Elizabeth added that she had written something about her visit to McCullers in Nyack

May 28, 1963 Carson's reply says that her lack of a secretary is the reason for her delay in writing. She regrets that Elizabeth will not be coming to the U.S. until 1965. Carson and Mary had a lovely trip to Charleston. Does not much like Square Root of Wonderful and "on the other hand I dearly love The Member of the Wedding and wishes that that one would be issued by the Swiss publisher

August 23, 1959 letter from Carson to Edith [Sitwell] saying "My cousin Jordan Massee and I are thinking of you and Osbert with such lingering loving thoughts". She goes on to thank her for her superb anthology and hopes to see them again soon. Tells her that she has a novel half-completed. She went to a psychiatrist and "she not only restored me to my own soul" but took Carson to the very best hospitals where they found that they can operate on her paralyzed arm and leg. The stroke was caused by childhood rheumatic fever. "Meanwhile I have finished my analysis and my doctor and I are the very best friends. You will adore her as she already adores you."

August 23, 1959 letter from Carson McCullers to Jay asking him to write the Ford Foundation before their September 15th deadline nominating Carson for a grant saying that she intends to dramatize her forthcoming novel and to make an opera of Ballad

August 23, 1959 letter from Carson to Thornton [Wilder?] saying how much she loved his work and asking him to write the Ford Foundation to recommend her for a grant

undated partial letter from Carson to Cyrilly saying that her first instinct was to call, but wants him to know that I "am thinking of you with love. . ."

August 13, 1963 letter from Carson to Aunt Gertrude, Aunt Kenney and Uncle Bill asking for a favor. She says that the first time she made any money she sent her father an ebony cane with an engraved silver handle. When he died "we sent the cane to Uncle Henry". It had both Carson's and her father name on the handle. Now that Uncle Henry is dead, Carson wonders if the cane has been kept and if so, now that she has to use a cane to walk, she would love to have it, both for the family sentiment and for its usefulness to her

August 1, 1973 [sic, but probably 1963] letter from Oliver Evans saying that after having read all her work for the third or fourth time, "I am absolutely appalled by how much of it has been copied by Truman Capote", adding specific examples, although he likes Capote, but never before realized how derivative he is; he asks Carson some specific questions for his book on her [Sullivan breaks off the letter here].




“Cassette Tape 17 Side A -- Letters from Carson to Recipient / Blue Box,” Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections , accessed April 21, 2024,