Celestine Sibley papers, 1900-1997

Emory University

Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator:Sibley, Celestine, 1917-1999.
Title: Celestine Sibley papers, 1900-1997
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 762
Extent:25.25 linear ft. (40 boxes), 2 bound volumes (BV), 6 oversized bound volumes (OBV), and 12 oversized papers (OP)
Abstract:Papers of Georgia journalist and author Celestine Sibley, including correspondence, writings, photographs, clippings and watercolor illustrations.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Gift, 1994, with subsequent additions.


[after identification of item(s)], Celestine Sibley papers, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by Pat Clark, January 2001.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Celestine Sibley was born in 1917 in South Georgia, near Mobile, Alabama. Her parents, Evelyn "Dixie" and Henry Colley, separated shortly after she was born, and although the couple never divorced, Celestine's mother married Wesley Reeder Sibley in 1924. Celestine Sibley began writing for her high school newspaper, and in 1932 she interned at the Mobile Press "for experience." Although she planned on becoming a movie star or a lawyer, journalism soon captivated her interest. She especially loved reviewing films, writing obituaries, and covering trials. This fascination with high drama would remain with her for the remainder of her career.

While at the Mobile Press Celestine met Jim Wainraight Little, a socially prominent yet poor fellow journalist. The couple married on 31 August 1936 and settled in Pensacola where Jim worked at the Pensacola News-Journal. Celestine soon joined the staff of the paper. In 1941, the Associated Press in Atlanta hired Jim, and as before, Celestine followed him to a new city. Although initially turned down by both the Atlanta Constitution and the Atlanta Journal, Celestine was eventually hired by the Constitution, where she worked until her death on August 15, 1999.

In addition to a distinguished career with the Constitution, Celestine Sibley published a number of novels, mystery stories, and an autobiography.

Biographical Source: Sibley, Celestine. Turned Funny: A Memoir. New York: Perennial Library, 1989

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Celestine Sibley, of Atlanta, Georgia, from ca. 1900-1997. The papers include correspondence (1949-1996) pertaining primarily to her professional career as a columnist for the Atlanta Constitution; writings (1959-1997) which include books, newspaper columns, and miscellaneous shorter works; subject files (1931-1996); photographs (ca. 1900-1993); a scrapbook and clippings of columns written by Sibley and about her professional life (1952-1988); original watercolor illustrations for two of her books (1967-1970); and a small collection of papers relating to her second husband, Jack Strong (1960-1963).

Arrangement Note

Organized into seven series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Writings, (3) Subject files, (4) Photographs, (5) Clippings, (6) Illustrations, and (7) Jack Strong papers.

Description of Series