Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the James Still Collection

Accession Number: 35
James Still Collection, 1930 - 2001
3.2 linear ft.
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Series Description
Series I - Correspondence
Series II - Biographical Materials and Photographs
Series III - Audio and Video Recordings
Series IV - Clippings
Series V - Manuscripts and Reviews
Series VI - Run for the Elbertas

Access and Use

Provenance: Initially Loyal Jones donated the core of the collection, including some photographs contributed by Cumberland College Library. Al Perrin of Berea and Michael Mullins of Hindman provided additional materials. Following Still's death his executors contributed some personal papers to the collection.

Preferred Citation: James Still Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky.

Overview of the Collection

This collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, recordings, and newspaper clippings that document the life and work of Kentucky author, James Still. Audio and video tapes from this collection are stored in the Berea College Sound Archives

Related Archives

Leonard Roberts Papers, 1950-1983 , SAA 57
Hindman Settlement School Records, 1899-1979, SAA 41
Berea College Sound Archives


James Still, a native of Alabama, was educated at Lincoln Memorial University (B.A., 1929), Vanderbilt University (M.A., 1930), and the University of Illinois (B.S., 1931). He became a librarian at Hindman Settlement School for several years before devoting himself entirely to writing. Except for service in World War II, Still resided in rural Knott County, Kentucky, from 1932-2001, most of that time in a log cabin on Dead Mare Branch. Following the war, he again worked at Hindman Settlement School and then taught for ten years at Morehead State University. Still published stories and poems in the Atlantic Monthly, Yale Review, American Mercury, and The Saturday Evening Post, among other periodicals. His works are generally considered to be both accurate and artful depictions of life in southeastern Kentucky during the 1920s and 1930s. His best known work, the novel River of Earth, was published in 1940 and was reprinted by the University Press of Kentucky in 1978. A collection of his short stories has been published as Run for the Elbertas, and Berea College published a collection called Wolfpen Poems. Late in his career his literary accomplishments were widely recognized, especially in the Appalachian region, by other writers and by colleges and universities.

Series Description
8 Manuscript Boxes

Series I Correspondence Boxes 1-3

The correspondence in this collection spans the years 1940-2000. It includes letters of James Still to Alfred Perrin, president of the Friends of the Berea College Library and a personal friend of James Still.

Series II Biographical Materials and Photographs Box 3 continued

This series includes Still's own accounts of his life and work, accounts by longtime friends, published interviews, honors and tributes, and invitations to or records of his guest appearances at writing workshops, poetry festivals, etc.

Series III Video/ Audio Recordings of James Still Sound Archives

These items are stored in Special Collections' Sound Archives, not in the Still manuscript boxes.

Series IV Clippings and Other Materials Boxes 4-5

This series includes miscellaneous advertisements for Still's work and promotions of various appearances, plus extensive newspaper clippings of reviews and other articles on Still (1937-1986) and columns he wrote, including the Godey Spurlock series. Some clippings relate to subjects of interest to him. Items by or about other authors and friends are also included. Clippings about his death have been added.

Series V Manuscript Materials and Reviews Boxes 6-7

The manuscript materials include a typed manuscript copy of Still's Wolfpen Poems, published by Berea College (1986). Also present are typescripts of sixteen short stories and approximately fifty poems by Still.

Series VI Run for the Elbertas Box 8

This series documents the stages of collection, reivision, proofing, and publication of the collection of Still's short stories entitled Run for the Elbertas.

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