Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Jesse Stuart Collection

Accession Number: 12
The Jesse Stuart Collection, 1933-1979
3 linear feet
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Part A
     Part A, Series I - Correspondence
     Part A, Series II - Manuscripts
     Part A, Series III - Articles and clippings
     Part A, Series IV - Photographs (Some autographed)
     Part A, Series V - Miscellany
     Part A, Series VI - Stories in Esquire
Part B
     Part B, Series I - Stuart-Thompson correspondence
Part C
     Part C, Series I - Typescripts of Books
     Part C, Series II - Typescripts of Poems
     Part C, Series III - Finished Poems
     Part C, Series IV - Correspondence
     Part C, Series V - Photographs and slides
     Part C, Series VI - Envelopes
     Part C, Series VII - Miscellaneous
     Part C, Series VIII - Jane Stuart
Part D
     Part D, Series I - Christmas cards
     Part D, Series II - Correspondence
     Part D, Series III - Miscellaneous
     Part D, Series IV - Dobbs' Correspondence

Access and Use:


Part A of the Jesse Stuart collection includes documents collected over a period of years by the library staff of Berea College.

Part B of the collection was copied from documents owned by Lawrence Thompson of the University of Kentucky.

Part C was donated by William Plumley, former Director of Morris Harvey College Publications, in Charleston, West Virginia. These papers were received on June 30, 1998 and opened for research in May of 2000.

Part D was given by Carolyn Dobbs, who founded the magazine, The Pointer, to help teachers and parents of mentally handicapped children. Carolyn and her husband, Tom, had become personal friends of Jesse Stuart and Naomi Dean, and after Stuart's death Carolyn Dobbs donated these items to Berea College. The papers were received on December 28, 1999, and were opened for research in June of 2000.

Access: The only restrictions are Federal copyright requirements.

Preferred Citation: The Jesse Stuart Collection, Special Collections & Archives, Berea College, Berea, Ky.

7 Manuscript Boxes


The first part of the collection contains correspondence, a small manuscript accumulation, a variety of magazine articles and newspaper clippings (some written by Stuart and others written by various book critics and columnists), a few photographs (some of which are autographed), and a miscellaneous file. The latter file contains a bibliography in addition to a copy of the Kentucky State Constitution revision/comparison study, in which Stuart participated as a committee member. There is also a collection of Esquire magazines containing Stuart stories from the 1940s.

The other three parts of the collection were accumulated by individuals who had a personal relationship with Stuart during his lifetime. Part B consists of copies of correspondence and other materials owned by Lawrence Thompson, formerly classics professor at the University of Kentucky. Part C contains corrected typescripts that Stuart sent to William Plumley for publication, with related correspondence; photos; and poems by Stuart's daughter Jane. Part 4 includes recollections by Carolyn Dobbs, notes from famous public figures, and Stuart's correspondence with Carolyn and her husband.

Related Archives at Berea

Albert Stewart Papers, SAA 84


Jesse Stuart was born in Greenup County, Kentucky on August 8, 1907. He lived with his wife, Naomi Deane, near Greenup, Kentucky, on a tract of land that includes the old tenant farmhouse once rented by his family during his childhood. His one child, Jane Stuart, is also a published author.

Stuart started writing about life in Appalachia when he was a young boy. He is known for a sensitive portrayal of the Appalachian highlander as a neighbor, relative, or friend. Stuart portrays Eastern Kentucky as a land of highland traditions that enable mountain people to take pride in their heritage. In his fiction, life in the mountains generates an intense loyalty to one's family and one's country. He was the author of more than 500 volumes, including novels, more than 450 short stories, collections of his 2100 poems, and a book about his recovery from a severe heart attack.

Stuart's poetry was early acclaimed when he received the prestigious Guggenheim Award in 1937. Later awards, both that from the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1941, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Award in 1943, praised both his poetry and prose works. He was designated a Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1954. "The World of Jesse Stuart" was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1975. He also won the $10,000 Academy of American Poets Award and a special award from Berea College. In 1976, Stuart received the first "Outstanding Kentuckian Award" from the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English. The highest acclaim and perhaps the most meaningful came through the remarkable public demand for his books. Out of all his literary honors he was proudest of an eight foot tall monument placed in front of the Greenup County Courthouse in his honor.

Near his seventieth birthday Stuart had a stroke that paralyzed his left side. In 1981 he received the Governor's Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Stuart fell into a stroke-induced coma in May of 1982, and died February 17, 1984, at the age of seventy-six. Jesse Stuart is still remembered as "one of the most celebrated and beloved of the Appalachian writers."

This information was collected from the Courier Journal's February 19 and February 21, 1984 issues.

Home > Special Collections & Archives > Southern Appalachian Archives