Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections

Cassette Tape 18 Side A --Carson's Letters




Cassette Tape 18 Side A --Carson's Letters





Original Format

cassette tape




Margaret Sullivan reading Carson-related correspondence, starting the tape with a letter to Jay which Sullivan had begun to read at the end of the last tape. She describes it as "a very important letter written by Carson on September 3, 1953 to J thanking him to say that he would write to the Ford Foundation. The letter gives a lengthy chronology of her development as a writer and the events of her life, and tells something of her plans for the future, mentioning the The Square Root of Wonderful, her intention to made a play of her yet unfinished Clock Without Hands, and also writing the libretto for an projected opera to be made from Ballad of the Sad Café. Sullivan finishes the letter here

March 23rd, 1953 letter in response to a cable from her sister Rita asking about the symbolism of leukemia in Clock Without Hands. Carson replies saying "My idea is that that extreme moral suffering of an impending death of a person brings out their most extreme qualities, both for good and evil. During Clock Without Hands Malone is engaged in a struggle with his soul which is more important than his physical disease. There are times when he seems lost in hatred, prejudice and cruelty, but in the end his soul turns to goodness even although his body dies. Incidentally, before deciding on leukemia I talked with four doctors and consulted several case histories so the medical data is correct. What are the symbols? To me, they are the personal ciphers to the solution of a work. Why one symbol comes instead of another I don't know. One could write books about symbolism. More narrowly, the symbol of the white blood cells in the case of leukemia crowding out the dark ones is peculiarly a symbol of the South. This book, a long one, is about good and evil, prejudice and the affirmation of the goodness of life. Malone's disease, with the attendant moral agony, quickens and intensifies these conflicting emotions. I do hope this answers the question in your cable." She goes on to say a chapter is being published and asks Rita to come up with a better title than "Clock Without Hands, a work in progress"

Sullivan starts "a letter dated March 30" but stops mid-sentence. After a pause she begins again with the letter dated March 30 [1953?] from Marguerite [Marguerite Chapin, better known as Marguerite Caetani, Princess of Bassiano, Duchess of Sermoneta] in Rome asking forgiveness for not sending her a check earlier, explaining that her expenses with Bottegha Oscure are so heavy that her money affairs are strained, she hopes for a larger circulation in the U.S., with perhaps some help from the Ford Foundation, sorry Carson is ill and hopes that Reeves will find congenial work in Paris

Easter, April 5, 1953 letter from Carson at Bachivillers to Marguerite [Caetani], saying that it is a cold wet Easter but the bells are ringing merrily in the church nearby, but she was up late the night before and is tired and she is dictating this to Reeves. Carson thanks Marguerite for her recent long good letter but says that she is returning Caetani's check for 250 dollars because it was drawn incorrectly, refers to "The Anne Frank" play and her disappointment in it's not going forward, adding that things are looking up for Reeves and he will soon be happily situated in Paris

March 15, 1962 letter from Carson to Mr. Georges Pollet saying that in answer to his first question, she had visited France many times and lived at Bachivillers, near Paris for a couple of years, never lived in Switzerland but had great success in Swiss editions of her works, she can't help him more but due to her illness she can't help him more with his research

March 9, 1962 letter from Mr. Georges Pollet to Carson asking the questions to which she replied in the preceding letter, preparing an article on McCullers for a magazine, asking for photographs and several questions relating to her works and publication in other countries, only some of which she answered

September 10, 1962 letter from Carson to Tom and Martha Maschler saying that she is looking forward to seeing them in England and asking if he will be attending the literary conference in Cheltenham and helping her out in her talk

another letter as a postscript from Mary Mercer to Tom and Martha saying that Carson had just read the above letter to her and adding that it would be a great comfort to all of them if they would help her find someone to help her and also to get a wheelchair for her and watch over her well-being during her stay;

March 1, 1962 letter from Floria Lasky enclosing an income statement for Ida [Reeder] showing her income and social security tax and sending Ida instructions on how to pay her income tax and the amount due

March 15, 1962 Carson's reply saying that she feels so helpless these days since Floria is so long away, when are you ever going to call me, mentions that she has 20,000 dollars in the bank that needs to be invested, Ida is worried about her income tax forms. Carson adds that Mary Mercer suggests that Carson go into the hospital on June 6 for another leg operation and hopes that after that there will be only one more and then the days of leg operations will be over

August 15, 1954 letter from Carson to Edwin [Peacock] and John [Zeilger] saying that she was going to write to a woman who upset her terribly, Katherine Cohen, the English psychiatrist and publisher. She adds she must gather her strength and doesn't have the time and strength to write to family and friends

ugust 15, 1954 letter from Carson to Grace, saying that she would love to come to her house, but that they should articulate the plans better, such as when would be best for Grace, adding that her mother is still in the nursing home but will be out in September, so that month would be best for Carson. Carson was sorry she missed them in New York, and wants them to come see her in Nyack "as soon as I can get the house established" and closes with "Love to the Admiral"

August 16, 1954 letter from Carson to Doris Lee saying that she loved the portrait she had done of Carson and asking for photographs of all the portraits that she had done of other women artists so she could have them framed and line the staircase of her new house, ending by saying that she hoped to have her see her new house in Nyack soon;

carbon copies of the letters to Grace and to Doris Lee

October 20, 1953 letter from Carson to John H. Davidson of Cambridge, England saying that she was pleased with his letter and referring to her love of music. She asked him if he had ever read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and said she was sure that he would get the contrapuntal quality of it. She closed by saying how much she had enjoyed the English autumn and hoped to hear his music some day

November 3, 1952 letter from her house at Bachivillers outside Paris to Houghton Mifflin asking them to send her 15 copies of The Ballad of the Sad Café by ordinary mail, insured if possible and to bill her

October 20, 1953 letter to Miss Jan Crammer saying that she hoped to meet her some day

October 20, 1953 letter to Miss Naomi Mitchiem of Argyle, Scotland thanking her for her letter

October 20, 1953 letter to Miss Jean Reynolds thanking her for her interesting letter in which she had asked if Annemarie had read Reflections in a Golden Eye to which Carson replied, "It was dedicated to Annemarie whom I did love dearly" and closed by hoping to meet someday

May 10, 1958 letter from Carson to Sir Carroll Reed saying after that "enchanting afternoon" with him she had begun a long letter to him about the hazards and safeties of her work and also about his suggestion to set Reflections as a play in England, where it would be "less bothered by censorship and the golden haze of Hollywood and money". She also said that The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is a natural as a movie and should be filmed on location, adding that she also told him how much she loved him and would adore to work with him if he would direct the movie. She then told him that she had had a brain wave and that she wanted him also to do The Ballad of the Sad Café and offered suggestions for the casting of the movie. She called Shirley Lawrence to check on Reed's availability, and asked him to reply quickly. She said that she has sent him a copy of her favorite book, Out of Africa, just as a love gift. She tells him what happened to the letter. She had given it to a sweet young boy that is love with her, as a young 19 year old boy is in love with an older woman, adding that he is reading to her. When she gave him the letter to read and correct the spelling, he read it and was furious at her for writing such a letter to a man she had only saw once. He said he would mail it, but I think he didn't, he kept if for himself. She goes on to talk about other cast and crew for the movie. Asks him to cable her. Tells of a long supper with Tennessee Williams about the script, cast and crew. Suggests it be filmed at the mountain home of Lillian Smith near Atlanta. Carson adds "The KKK has been trying to get Lillian out for a long time. We'll get them out!"

Sullivan says, "Here is a series of four communications", the first one is from Mr. Hingorani of Harley Street to Carson at her home in Bachivillers thanking her for her letter and saying that he hopes to make another trip to India in the next months for September or October of next year and would be happy to include her and her husband in his party. He will keep her informed about his plans

November 3, 1952 Carson's replied that she had been in Rome working on a movie script and saying that she and Reeves very much hope to be included in his party traveling to India the next year

7 November 1952 letter from Mr. Hingorani thanking her for the book and will give her details of the India trip by next year.




“Cassette Tape 18 Side A --Carson's Letters,” Columbus State University Archives and Special Collections , accessed May 19, 2024,