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Erskine Caldwell Papers

Identifier: Ms-1972-001

Scope and Content

The Erskine Caldwell Papers contains five, signed typescripts of his short stories including "Honeymoon," "A Day's Wooing," "Midsummer Passion," "Where the Girls were Different," and "Nacogdoches, Texas," as well as a set of galley proofs for "Georgia Boy."


  • n.d.


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). Information about rights-holders may be available in the WATCH File for Erskine Caldwell from the Harry Ransom Center and University of Reading. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

Erskine Caldwell was born in the town of White Oak, Georgia, on December 17, 1903. Caldwell's schooling was fragmentary; he attended high school sporadically and took college courses at the University of Pennsylvania, at Erskine College, in South Carolina, and at the University of Virginia.

As a young man, he worked in Atlanta, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Baltimore as a mill laborer, farmhand, cotton picker, cook, stagehand in a burlesque house, and book reviewer. His prolific career as an author was launched by "The Bastard" (1929), "Poor Fool" (1930), and "American Earth" (1931).

But it was the 1932 publication of "Tobacco Road" that assured Caldwell's success. In 1933, "Tobacco Road" was dramatized and ran for a record-breaking seven years on Broadway, despite an obscenity charge that was brought against it by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. The charge was dismissed, as was a similar charge against Caldwell's next novel, "God's Little Acre" (1933).

In 1984, Caldwell was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1985, the Georgia Endowment for the Humanities invited him back to his native state for a series of teas and lectures in his honor.

A heavy smoker for all of his adult life, Caldwell twice underwent surgery for the removal of portions of his lungs. Lung cancer finally overtook him on April 11, 1987, in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Information quoted from: Encyclopedia of World Biography, vol. 3, 2nd ed., (Detroit: Gale Research, 1998), 223-224.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)


The collection consists of five typescript short stories and a set of galley proofs written and signed by Erskine Caldwell.

Source of Acquisition

The Erskine Caldwell Papers were purchased by Newman Library in 1972.

Related Archival Materials

There are many collections at other repositories, including several collections at Rauner Special Collections Library, Dartmouth College; several collections at Special Collections, University of Virginia Library; and several collections at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Erskine Caldwell Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Erskine Caldwell Papers commenced and was completed in April 2007.

Erskine Caldwell Papers, n.d.
Sam Walters, Archivist
2007 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US