Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

Correspondence, 1880-1980 and undated

 Series 1

This series contains correspondence that Porter produced, received, or collected during her lifetime. It includes typed and handwritten letters, telegrams, postcards, greeting cards, gift enclosure cards, and clippings with notes inscribed on or attached to them.

Porter corresponded with thousands of people. The exchanges ranged from form, routine, and business letters to twelve-page epistolary masterpieces. In many cases, perhaps one-fourth to one-third of the time, Porter retained a carbon copy of her outgoing letter, so both sides of the correspondence are present. Many of these carbon copies duplicate the original letters found in other small collections at the University of Maryland Libraries (i.e., the Papers of Cyrilly Abels, the Papers of Paul Porter). They are retained here for completeness and convenience. Many of Porter's original outgoing letters are also here, either because she requested the return of the letters or they were donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by the recipient and integrated into the collection.

Letters written by Paul Porter on his aunt's behalf after he became her guardian in 1977 are retained as her correspondence, as are letters written on her behalf by her administrative assistants, most notably William R. Wilkins, and letters dictated to nurses and other helpers in hospitals and nursing homes.

The materials are arranged in nine subseries, based on the correspondent's primary relationship with Porter. For instance, both E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., Porter's lawyer, and Cyrilly Abels, her literary agent, had very deep personal relationships with her, but their relationships were inseparable from their professional interactions. Therefore, Prettyman's correspondence is filed in Subseries 3, Financial and Legal, and Abels's correspondence in Subseries 1, Agents and Publishing Activities.

Letters addressed jointly to Porter and her husbands Eugene Pressly or Albert Erskine remain in Porter's correspondence, but letters addressed only to Pressly or Erskine have been moved to the subseries Family--To Others. Letters between other family members are also in Family--To Others.


  • 1880-1980 and undated

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public, non-circulating, and must be used in the Special Collections Reading Room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.


34.50 Linear Feet

Existence and Location of Copies

Selected material from this series has been digitized and is available through the University of Maryland's Digital Collections. Please visit the project site: Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742