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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.


Typescript with manuscript corrections.

University of Florida. Department of Special Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries. Gainesville, Florida.

The Department of Special Collections contains five major sections. The Rare Books and Literary Manuscripts section includes more than 30,000 volumes, from Incunabula to modern poetry, and manuscript collections such as the papers of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, John D. MacDonald and Zora Neale Hurston. The University Archives and Historical Manuscripts section contains published and unpublished records of the University of Florida and manuscript collections with an emphasis on Florida and Caribbean history. The Baldwin Library of Children's Literature includes approximately 85,000 volumes of English language materials, including seven hundred and seventy titles published in North America prior to 1820. The Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts contains a wide range of nineteenth and twentieth century theatrical ephemera, including programs, posters, playbills, scripts, photographs, magazines, and manuscripts. The P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History is a repository for primary and secondary source materials on all aspects of Florida history. Extensive newspaper and microform collections enhance original historical manuscript materials to form an outstanding collection of research materials.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on August 8, 1896, in Washington D.C. A year after graduation from the University of Wisconsin in 1918, the then Marjorie Kinnan, married Charles Rawlings. In 1928, the purchase of a seventy-two acre orange grove in Cross Creek, Florida, changed her life forever. Initial success with magazine articles preceded publication of Rawlings' first novel, South Moon Under, in 1933, the same year she divorced Charles Rawlings and two years before the publication of her second novel, Golden Apples. In 1938, Rawlings saw her third novel, The Yearling, published, a work which has become a classic of American literature. When the Whippoorwill, a collection of short stories, was published in 1940, one year before her marriage to Norton Sanford Baskin and two years before publication of her autobiography, Cross Creek. In her later years, Rawlings was involved in a notable libel suit with Zelma Cason. She also produced her last novel, The Sojourner, in 1953. Rawlings died in St. Augustine, Florida, on December 14, 1953.

The tombstone of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings bears the inscription, "By her writing she endeared herself to the people of the world." Rawlings is certain to be forever linked with the backwoods regions of central Florida, although she held the public view that, "If people are really just as quaint as all get out, write an essay about them for National Geographic, but don't make a novel about them unless they have a larger meaning than just quaintness."

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. When the Whippoorwill. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. Manuscript inscription on half-title page: For Norton / with love / Marjorie.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Varmints. 35 leaves, typescript with manuscript corrections. [n.p., n.d.]

The title, When the Whippoorwill, derives from a Florida country or Cracker expression, "When the first whippoorwill calls it is time for the corn to be in the ground." This is a most appropriate title for a collection of stories about the lives of Florida Crackers. Readers are treated to this familiar Cracker terminology in the short story "Varmints." The book also includes "A Crop of Beans;" "Benny and the Bird Dogs;" "Jacob's Ladder;" "The Pardon;" "The Enemy;" "Gal Young Un;" "Alligators;" "A Plumb Clare Conscience;" "A Mother in Mannville;" and "Cocks Must Crow." Many of the stories were first published in magazines, including "Varmints," which appeared in the December, 1936, issue of Scribner's. In "Varmints," Rawlings offers a narrative tale of Quincey Dover's troubles with "an unnatural mule belonging to two of her acquaintances."

The typescript is accompanied by an autographed copy of the story's first book printing in 1940. This copy is inscribed by Rawlings to her future husband Norton Baskin, and was a gift from him to the University of Florida Libraries. Rawlings gave her manuscripts and correspondence to the University of Florida in 1950. This typescript typifies Rawlings' writing process: she typed first drafts on cheap yellow second sheets, then revised generously, usually in pencil. As with the original manuscript of the Yearling, the paper used is pulpy and highly acidic. All the Rawlings' manuscripts were, by the 1990s, too fragile for use, and could be consulted only by using the microfilm copies. The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society and other concerned individuals provided generous private support and the Libraries' Preservation Department was able to purchase the supplies needed to treat and thereby conserve each page. Every sheet of manuscript paper has been deacidified, encapsulated in archival mylar, and bound in protective covers. Thus the originals may be examined by students and scholars without harm. The pages are kept in proper order, and are safe from the ravages of dirt, insects, dampness, and, insofar as possible, time.

Pulp magazines with short stories by John D. McDonald

John D. MacDonald. John Dann MacDonald was born on July 24, 1916, in Sharon, Pennsylvania. He left the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania during his sophomore year and proceeded to engage in a series of menial jobs in New York City. He then entered the Syracuse University School of Business and graduated in 1938. While at Syracuse he met Dorothy Prentiss and they married in 1937. He obtained a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1939. Following military service, MacDonald began a prolific career as a writer of short stories. In the first four months following his discharge, he produced 800,000 words during fourteen-hour workdays (seven days a week), lost twenty pounds and collected almost 1,000 rejection slips.

The sale of a story to Dime Detective for forty dollars during his fifth month of writing spurred his subsequent contributions to pulp magazines with adventure, sports, mystery, western, and science fiction themes. His growing bibliography of publications came to include both successful and less acclaimed works. Soft Touch, a novel, served as the basis for the film, Man Trap, and a later novel, The Executioners, served as the impetus for the movie, Cape Fear. In recent years MacDonald has received praise for his tightly knit plots, taut dialogue, sex, violence, and philosophical musings that enhanced the mystery-thriller genre. The creation of a series of novels centered on the exploits of Travis McGee has won MacDonald a legion of fans.

These works illustrate the genre of pulp fiction, and include a variety of short stories printed cheaply, with evocative titles and illustrations. MacDonald took great delight in those who attempted to analyze and dissect his work. He once said, "As a writer I have no quarrel with being captured, examined, identified, labeled, and exhibited by critics, lecturers, essayists, teachers, and perhaps, psychiatrists... But I must object, and strenuously, to all the classifiers who leave out the element of compulsion, who seem to feel that butterflies, fish, and writers are somehow what they choose to be..."

The pulps, so-called for their inexpensive low-quality paper, offered a market for the early efforts of writers who later achieved substantial recognition: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury, Dashiell Hammett, Arthur C. Clarke, Tennessee Williams, and MacKinlay Kantor, among others. Pulp magazine editors titillated potential buyers with lurid cover paintings and suggestive titles (often spicing up the authors' originals), but the contents were never really X-rated; a kiss (albeit enthusiastic) was generally the most explicit sexual encounter. The role played by the pulps in popular culture and entertainment of the 1940s and 50s has gradually been superseded by the omnipresent and many-channeled television set. Beginning writers who once would have been published in the pulps are now script writers.

All Story Detective. Volume 1, number 1, February 1949. Blackmail Breeds Bullets. pp. 10-28.

All Story Detective. Volume 1, number 2, April 1949. The Widow Wouldn't Weep. pp. 56-81.

Detective Tales. Volume 40, number 2, September 1948. Red- Headed Bait. pp. 58-70.

Detective Tales. Volume 48, number. 3, October 1951. Case of the Gorgeous Gams. pp. 10-34.

Dime Detective. Volume 56, number 2. February 1948. High Walls of Hate. pp. 30-35.

Dime Detective. Volume 59, number 4, April 1949. Ii>The Corpse Belongs to Daddy. pp. 80-91.

FBI Detective Stories. Volume 1, number 1, February 1949. A Coffin a Day. pp. 10-32.

New Detective Magazine. Volume 11, number 2, March 1948. One Vote for Murder. pp. 38-53.

New Sports Magazine. Volume 5, number 3, December 1948. Buzz-Saw Belter. pp. 36-46.

10 Story Western Magazine. Volume XXXVI, number 1, April 1948. The Corpse Rides at Dawn. pp. 84-97.