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Anderson, Eleanor Copenhaver, 1896-1985



  • Existence: 1896 - 1985

Biographical Note

Eleanor Gladys Copenhaver (1896-1985) was born on June 15, 1896 in Marion, Virginia, to Bascom Eugene and Laura Lu Scherer Copenhaver. Laura Lu's father founded Marion Female College, which was located next door to the family home, "Rosemont." Laura Lu attended Marion College and later taught English there. Her husband, B.E. Copenhaver, first taught at Marion and then became Smyth County superintendent of schools. Eleanor Copenhaver attended Marion College, then Westhampton College in Richmond, completing a B. A. in English in 1917. After spending a year teaching and time as a camp director, she spent more than ten years working for the YWCA, specializing first in rural community organizing and later in industrial communities. During this time, she met and eventually married Sherwood Anderson in 1933.

From 1937 to 1947 Copenhaver Anderson was head of the National YWCA's Industrial Program, later accepting a 2 year assignment abroad. In 1950, she spent a brief time apart from the YWCA, after it ended programs for employed women, but she was re-hired in 1951 for another ten years for the YWCA and United Community Defense Services, until she retired in 1961.

She spent her later life in both New York City and at “Rosemont” and “Ripshin” in Virginia. As the collection suggests, she maintained an active role in scholarship surrounded Sherwood Anderson. She died on September 12, 1985, in Marion, Virginia.

A lengthier biographical note can be found in finding aid for the Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson Papers in the Sophia Smith Collection. The UNC Chapel Hill "Documenting the American South" Collection also includes an oral history interview with Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson from November 5, 1974.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

James T. Farrell Letters to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson

Identifier: Ms-2017-005

This collection contains four letters written by American author James T. Farrell to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson between February 1952 and May of 1954.

Dates: 1952, 1954

Welford D. Taylor Collection on Sherwood Anderson

Identifier: Ms-2015-020

This collection contains several series of materials: correspondence to and from Sherwood Anderson, correspondence and research files about Sherwood Anderson, and a small group of photographs, audio, video, and graphic art materials. Materials generated by Anderson date from 1918-1940. Other materials date from about 1929-2006.

Dates: 1918-2006, n.d.