MDAH Announces the Opening of The Welty Family Papers
In honor of Eudora Welty’s 113th birthday on April 13, a previously restricted series of Welty’s family papers is now open to the public.
“The letters in this series begin with the courtship letters of my grandparents,” said Welty’s niece Mary Alice White. “Also included are personal papers of the family, Eudora's correspondence with family members, and papers and letters from my father, uncles, and other family members. Because these letters were not technically the property of Eudora—they belong to the letter writer—I think Eudora wanted them sealed to respect the privacy of those still living.”
The Eudora Welty Collection, Series 45: Welty Family Papers was restricted to the public, in accordance with Welty’s will, for twenty years after her death.
“This rich gathering of family correspondence swells what was already a most remarkable resource,” said Welty scholar and affiliate professor at the College of Charleston Harriet Pollack. “In these new materials, we grow close to Welty’s parents; her siblings and their families; her grandmother and great grandmother and their children. Through their intimate and everyday interactions with one another, we also come to know so much more about the woman and the writer, Eudora Welty. Astonishingly, a very private woman has unpredictably made generations of personal history available to those touched by her art, inviting us to better understand and to more fully engage the elusive woman behind it.”
The Eudora Welty Collection was established in 1957, when the internationally acclaimed author donated a portion of her papers—manuscripts, photographs, and correspondence—to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The entire Welty Collection consists of drafts, revised copies, and printer's versions of Welty's works, including stories, books, essays, reviews, lectures, speeches, and drama. The collection also contains incoming and outgoing correspondence of Welty, negatives and photographs taken by Welty and her father, and memorabilia. The Welty Collection, now one of the largest literary collections in the country, is used by scholars from around the world.