Emma Brescia Gardner papers, 1898-1996

Emory University

Robert W. Woodruff Library

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

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Gardner, Emma Brescia.
Title: Emma Brescia Gardner papers, 1898-1996
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 852
Extent: 4.5 linear feet (9 boxes) and 1 oversized papers box (OP)
Abstract:Papers of Emma Brescia Gardner including correspondence from her husband American poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren, and her father Domenico Brescia.
Language:Some materials in Italian.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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

Related Materials in This Repository

Robert Penn Warren collection, Arthur Hawley Scouten papers, and Floyd C. Watkins papers.


Purchase, 2000.


[after identification of item(s)], Emma Brescia Gardner papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by Katie Long, July 11, 2000.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Emma Brescia Gardner, daughter of composer Domenico Brescia (1866-1939), was married to Robert Penn Warren from 1929-1951. While the marriage lasted for over twenty years, the couple had no children. Gardner went on to earn a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1957 and began teaching foreign language at Mitchell College in New London, Connecticut, in 1963. Her first husband, Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) is the only person to win the Pulitzer Prize for both Fiction and Poetry. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1947 for his novel All the King's Men, and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1978 for his volumes Promises, and Now and Then: Poems 1976-1978. Warren also became the first Poet Laureate for the United States in 1986. He also collaborated with Cleanth Brooks to write two of the most popular college textbooks, Understanding Poetry (1938) and Understanding Fiction (1943).

Domenico Brescia was born in Pirano, Trieste in 1866 and educated at the University of Bologna and later became a member of the Royal Academies of both Bologna and Florence. He came to the United States and settled in Oakland, California where he became professor of composition and head of the theory department at Mills College in 1925.

Publication Note


Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Emma Brescia Gardner from 1902-1996. The collection is composed of materials relating to Emma Brescia Gardner, her husband Robert Penn Warren, and her father Domenico Brescia.

The Robert Penn Warren papers contain mostly correspondence from 1927-1948 and includes letters from his mother and father, his wife Emma Brescia Gardner, other family members, and friends and colleagues. Notable correspondents include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Katherine Anne Porter, Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, and Donald Davidson. There are also a few typescripts written by Warren and others.

Papers relating to Emma Brescia Gardner provide new insight into her life and character through over 700 letters from her father, Domenico Brescia (in Italian). Her correspondence also includes several letters from Robert Penn Warren, friends, and other family members. There are also some typescripts of Gardner's poetry.

The Domenico Brescia papers are comprised mostly of correspondence and some of Brescia's musical compositions. The collection also contains a series of photographs of Gardner's family and friends as well as memorabilia such as newspaper clippings and concert programs.

Arrangement Note

Organized into five series: (1) Robert Penn Warren papers, (2) Emma Brescia Gardner papers, (3) Domenico Brescia papers, (4) Photographs, and (5) Memorabilia.

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