Louise Hardeman Abbot letters, 1957-1995

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Abbot, Louise Hardeman.
Title: Louise Hardeman Abbot letters, 1957-1995
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1348
Extent: .5 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:Letters to Louise Hardeman Abbot from Georgia writer Flannery O'Connor; O'Connor's mother, Regina; and Sally Fitzgerald, writer and editor of several volumes of O'Connor's letters and works.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Select letters from Sally Fitzgerald are closed to researchers until 2025.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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

Related Materials in Other Repositories

Flannery O'Connor collection, Special Collections, Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, Georgia


Purchased from Louise Abbot in 2015.


[after identification of item(s)], Louise Hardeman Abbot letters, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, Kevin Young, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in American Literature.


Processed by Sarah Quigley, December 2015.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Louise Hardeman Abbot was born in Louisville, Georgia, on September 17, 1931. She married James Caswell Abbot, a lawyer, in November 1954 and the couple had five children. She attended the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, North Carolina), and as a writer won several fiction contests including the Carolina Quarterly Fiction Contest and Mademoiselle's Fiction Contest, both in 1954. Abbot began her friendship with Flannery O'Connor in 1957 after admiring O'Connor's work and sending the author a letter asking to visit. In 1970, Abbot published an article in The Southern Literary Journal entitled "Remembering Flannery O'Connor."

Publication Note

Select letters published in: The Habit of Being by Sally Fitzgerald. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1979.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of letters to Louise Hardeman Abbot from Flannery O'Connor, Regina O'Connor, Sally Fitzgerald, and Margaret Lee from 1957-1995. Letters from Flannery O'Connor begin in 1957 and end days before her death in August 1964. In the letters, O'Connor plans Abbot's visits; offers advice about writing and publishing; provides general updates about her health, travel, friends, and family; and shares her thoughts about religion and faith. In one letter in particular, O'Connor discusses her own writing and expresses some dissatisfaction with a draft of The Violent Bear it Away. In a handful of letters, O'Connor alludes to current events such as school desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement but gives few specific details.

Letters from Regina O'Connor begin in 1964. Many of the letters were written in the months following Flannery O'Connor's death and express Regina's gratitude for Abbot's support. In other letters, Regina plans visits from Abbot and discusses correspondence from Flannery's friends. In one letter, she discusses the possibility of giving Flannery's papers to an archives. Letters from Sally Fitzgerald date from 1977-1995. In them she discusses preparation of The Habit of Being; her work on The Mansions of the South, a biography of Flannery O'Connor that she never published; and her response to Ralph Wood's 1994 article about racism in O'Connor's work. There is one letter from Margaret Lee that is about Abbot's article on Flannery O'Connor in The Southern Literary Journal and the possibility of publishing O'Connor's letters.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by correspondent.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Flannery O'Connor to Abbot, 1957-1964
1 2 Regina O'Connor to Abbot, 1964-1977
1 3 Sally Fitzgerald to Abbot, 1977-1995
1 4 Margaret Lee to Abbot, 1977
2 1 Restricted correspondence