James T. Farrell Letters to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson
Scope and Content
This collection contains four letters written by author James Farrell to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson between February 1952 and May of 1954. The two had some on-going correspondence of which this represents only a small piece. As the letters suggest, one thing the two had in common was social activism--at various points in time, both worked for and supported various rights and activist causes. The April 8th letter is primarily concerned with Farrell's updates about contacts in the UAW and his efforts to help Anderson get a job with them, if she was interested. It appears she was not, as she was re-hired by her previous employer, the YWCA, in 1951, and she remained with the organization until 1961. The third and fourth letters are more about a piece Farrell wrote on Sherwood Anderson, his influence on Farrell, and Farrell's own writing at the time.
- 1952, 1954
The collection is open for research.
Permission to publish material from James T. Farrell Letters to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Biographical Note: Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson (1896-1985)
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.
Biographical Note: James T. Farrell (1904-1979)
James T. Farrell was but in Chicago, Illinois, in 1904. Raised in Chicago, he eventually attended the University of Chicago from 1925 to 1929. He left school without graduating, however, and took up a career as a writer. In the first half of the 1930s, he authored the Studs Lonigan trilogy. This trilogy led to a series of works written between 1936 and 1953. In 1958, he began another series, intended to be 25 books in length, of which Farrell completed ten. Over the course of his 47+ year career, he wrote 25 novels and 17 collections of short stories. A number of additional works were published posthumously. Farrell died in New York, New York, in August of 1979.
0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)
Language of Materials
This collection contains four letters written by American author James T. Farrell to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson between February 1952 and May of 1954.
The James T. Farrell Letters to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson were purchased by Special Collections in April 2016.
Alternate Form Available
This collection has been digitized and is available online.
The processing, arrangement, and description of the James T. Farrell Letters to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson was completed in February 2017.
- James T. Farrell Letters to Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, 1952
- Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
- ©2017 Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.
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Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
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