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Katherine Anne Porter papers

 Collection 0041-LIT

The University of Maryland Libraries house the primary archive for Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980). Porter is known primarily for her short stories and novel, Ship of Fools, but also published nonfiction. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1966 for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter. Her personal papers reflect her interests in writing, travel, politics, and current events and also document her private life. The collection includes correspondence, notes and drafts for her works, publications, legal documents, and financial records. It also includes over 1,500 photographs from her personal collection, dating from the 1890s to 1979. Subjects of both snapshots and professional portraits include Porter, her family, friends, homes, and places she visited. The Porter collection also contains memorabilia, including Mexican pottery, furniture, awards, and diplomas, as well as her personal library. Many of these objects and a portion of her library are housed in the Katherine Anne Porter Room in Hornbake Library.


  • 1579-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1932-1975

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.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.


174.50 Linear Feet

3845 Items : Volumes

Scope and Content of Collection

The Katherine Anne Porter papers consist of materials dated from 1842 to 1980 that Miss Porter created, received, or collected during her lifetime (1890-1980). The materials include correspondence; manuscripts and drafts of both published and unpublished literary works, notes, and research materials; items relating to Porter's awards, her organizational interests, and her lecturing and college teaching careers; legal and financial documentation; personal materials; newspaper and magazine clippings; print material; serials; manuscripts written by other individuals; audio recordings; three-dimensional memorabilia; and photographs.


Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) was one of the most brilliant practitioners of the art of the short story. Her literary reputation rests on the stories in her Collected Stories (1964) rather than on her best-selling novel Ship of Fools (1962). Born Callie Russell Porter on May 15, 1890, she was the fourth of Harrison and Mary Alice Porter's five children. When her mother died in March 1892, her father moved the four surviving children from his farm in the central Texas community of Indian Creek to his mother's home in Kyle, just south of Austin, the state capital. The grandmother, Catharine Ann Porter, served as a mother to Harrison's children until her death in October 1901. Catharine Ann Porter was an important influence on her granddaughter Callie, who adopted her name in early adulthood with only a slight orthographical change.

The death of the grandmother left the family emotionally and financially adrift. About 1903, Harrison Porter relocated his family to San Antonio, where the three oldest children experienced the last of their formal education. Porter's older brother Paul matriculated at a military academy, and Callie and her older sister Gay attended the Thomas School, an excellent non-sectarian Christian private girls' school. Equipped with the training they received there, Porter and her older sister gave lessons in "music, physical culture and dramatic reading" in a rented room in Victoria, Texas, the family's next residence. Although she later taught at colleges and universities, she never had any formal higher education. She acquired wide-ranging knowledge through a lifetime of extensive reading on varied topics; she often annotated her books and journals as she read them, evidence of which survives in her personal library.

On June 20, 1906, Callie Porter married John Henry Koontz. This first of her marriages, at nine years, had the longest duration. The couple first lived in Louisiana, then moved to Houston and later Corpus Christi. In 1912, her husband's work-related absences allowed her more time for creativity, and she began writing more of the poems and short stories she had been composing since childhood. This activity resulted in her first published poem, "Texas by the Gulf of Mexico," printed that year in a trade journal to which her husband subscribed.

By 1914, it became apparent that the marriage was not working. Porter set out for Chicago hoping to find employment in motion pictures, though she later claimed that her plan was to work for a newspaper. She was a beautiful young woman, full of self-confidence, and, though she appeared in at least two movies for the Essanay Company, she returned to Texas within six months.

She obtained a divorce from Koontz in June 1915 and shortly thereafter discovered that she had contracted tuberculosis. Between 1915 and 1917, Porter married and was divorced twice. In September 1917, Porter became a journalist for the Fort Worth Critic thanks to the help of friend Kitty Crawford, whom she had met while both of them were hospitalized in a sanitorium. In the autumn of 1918, Porter secured a position on the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. Soon after her arrival in Denver, Porter very nearly died in the influenza epidemic that ravaged the country at that time. After her recovery, she resumed work on the Rocky Mountain News and, by February 1919, was the resident theater and music critic.

In October 1919, Porter headed for Greenwich Village to pursue a writing career. Her immersion in the artistic milieu of the Village encouraged a move away from journalism toward creative writing. In the early months of 1920, she succeeded in publishing three stories "retold" from myth and legend in Everyland, a magazine for children. However, in November of that year Porter followed the prompting of some new-found Mexican friends, Adolfo Best-Maugard and Tata Nacho, to go to Mexico and work there. She soon became the editor of the English language section of El Heraldo de Mexico. By early 1921, she was the editor of and a contributor to the English language Magazine of Mexico, published to promote American business and development in Mexico. As she immersed herself in Mexican art and culture, she also ghostwrote a memoir entitled My Chinese Marriage. Porter left Mexico before September 1921 but returned for three months in the spring of 1922 expressly to write Outline of Mexican Popular Arts and Crafts, the catalog for an exhibit of Mexican art that was to travel across the United States.

Her experiences in Mexico, including those of a third trip in 1923, provided Porter with the material for three short stories published in Century magazine: "Maria Concepcion" (1922), "The Martyr" (1923), and "Virgin Violeta" (1924). These achievements, combined with her freelance editing and book reviews (published mainly in the New York Herald Tribune and New Republic), drew Porter further into literary and intellectual circles. She established friendships with Elinor Wylie, Genevieve Taggard, Josephine Herbst, Caroline Gordon, Malcolm Cowley, Dorothy Day, and Robert Penn Warren, among others. She reveled in an active social life and was a prolific letter writer to distant friends and relatives.

Porter spent the spring and summer of 1926 with a group of other artists and writers in Merryall Valley, Connecticut. She and Ernest Stock occupied a farmhouse owned by Genevieve Taggard and her husband, Robert Wolfe. Porter enjoyed the beauty of the setting, and the contacts she established there not only inspired her writing but also helped her to get her work published.

Porter undertook a major project in 1927 when she signed a contract to write a biography of Cotton Mather with the publishing house of Boni and Liveright. In late 1927 and early 1928, she lived in Salem, Massachusetts, for several months, while researching Mather's life. In spring 1929, her friends funded a trip to Bermuda so that she could complete the biography. Porter was seriously ill at the time, partly from emotional distress, and the trip aided her recovery. She found solitude and wrote a great deal but was not able to complete the Mather biography. In fact, the book was never completed, despite extensive research and nearly fifty years of sporadic writing efforts, including another contract in 1965 with Seymour Lawrence.

Porter worked on short stories while in Bermuda. During her visit, she made progress on one of her best stories, "Flowering Judas," which was published in Hound & Horn in 1930. That year, a book of stories with "Flowering Judas" as the title story appeared while Porter was again in Mexico. This trip to Mexico became an extended sixteen-month stay, with Porter continuing to write more essays and reviews. Her financial situation, which was troublesome through most of her life, was improved by a Guggenheim fellowship of $2000, which she used for a long-desired trip to Europe.

In August 1931, Katherine Anne Porter and her companion and eventual husband, Eugene Pressly, departed from Mexico on the German ship S. S. Werra. The journal she kept during this journey became the basis for Ship of Fools, the novel she published thirty-one years later. After four months in Berlin, Porter visited Paris and Madrid before moving with Pressly, who had received a lifetime appointment in the American foreign service, to Basel, Switzerland, for six months, where she lived from June to December 1932. When Pressly was posted to the American Embassy in Paris, they settled there for nearly four years, marrying in March 1933. In Paris, Porter developed a circle of friends that included Monroe Wheeler, Glenway Wescott, and Barbara Harrison, who became lifelong supporters.

The Paris years were very productive--much of Porter's most important work was either written or begun during this period. Hacienda was published in 1934, and Flowering Judas and Other Stories came out in 1935, adding four more stories to those of the 1930 edition. The minor publication that led to Hacienda was entitled Katherine Anne Porter's French Song-Book. It included translations of French songs covering a six hundred year period, capitalizing on Porter's love of early music. Both works were published by Harrison of Paris, run by her friends Barbara Harrison and Monroe Wheeler.

In October 1936, Porter and Pressly returned to the United States, with Pressly traveling to Washington to look for work and Porter settling for a time in Pennsylvania. This visit was highly productive, as she completed two of the "short novels" that appeared in Pale Horse, Pale Rider in 1939. After a three-month reunion with Porter in New York City, Pressly found a temporary position in South America; this led to their permanent separation and eventual divorce. In June 1937, Porter visited her family in Texas, afterward joining Allen Tate and Caroline Gordon at Olivet College in Michigan for a writers' conference. While staying in the Tates' home in Tennessee after the conference, she met Albert Erskine, her next husband, who was then a graduate student at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and business manager for the Southern Review. In September 1937, Porter moved to New Orleans.

April 1938 brought both divorce from Pressly and another marriage. With Robert Penn Warren and his wife Cinina as witnesses, Porter married Albert Erskine. However, Porter and Erskine were separated within two years, and in June 1940 Porter went to live at Yaddo, the artists' colony in upstate New York. She had gained a reputation as one of the country's best writers following the publication of Pale Horse, Pale Rider (1939), which included the title work, "Noon Wine," and "Old Mortality."

Porter enjoyed living in upstate New York so much that in late 1940 she bought South Hill, a house near Saratoga Springs. It required a great deal of money and work to make it habitable, so Porter was not able to move in until the fall of 1942, shortly after her June 1942 divorce from Erskine. Life at South Hill during World War II proved too isolating. In the winter of 1943, she retreated to the Harbor Hill Inn in Cold Spring, New York. The next several years saw many relocations, including to the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., while she was a Fellow of Regional Literature at the Library of Congress, and to Hollywood to try her hand at screenwriting. The Leaning Tower and Other Stories was published in 1944 in the midst of these moves and was followed eight years later by The Days Before, a book of critical essays.

Porter's success with a summer class at Stanford University in 1947 resulted in several long teaching stints at universities: Stanford University (1948-1949); University of Michigan (1953-1954); University of Liege (Fulbright Fellow, 1954); University of Virginia (1958); and Washington and Lee University (1959). Porter supplemented her income by giving readings and lectures and by appearing on radio and television. When not in residence at an academic institution, she lived for extended periods in three places: New York City (1949-1953); Southbury, Connecticut (1955-1958); and Washington, D.C. (1959-1969). The three years in Connecticut, funded largely with an advance from Seymour Lawrence, her new publisher, allowed her time to work on her novel. It was completed after she received a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1959.

Financial security and popular fame came in 1962 with the publication of Ship of Fools, which became a bestseller and was filmed by Hollywood in 1965. The screenplay was written by Abby Mann and directed by Stanley Kramer; actors included Vivien Leigh as Mrs. Treadwell and Elizabeth Ashley as Jenny Brown. Her crowning achievement of the 1960s was the publication of The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965), which received the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

Porter's health gradually deteriorated after the publication of her Collected Stories, but she enjoyed the celebrity status she had attained. She accepted several honorary degrees, including one from the University of Maryland in 1966, and attended White House events during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. In December 1966, Porter announced that she would donate her papers, personal library, and other personal effects to the University of Maryland, where the Katherine Anne Porter Room was dedicated in McKeldin Library on May 15, 1968. She moved to College Park in 1969, in part to be closer to the university and her papers.

Though in declining health, Porter continued to publish during the last decade of her life. A compilation, Collected Essays and Occasional Writings, was published in 1970. Porter travelled to Florida in 1972 to write an essay on the Apollo 17 lunar landing for Playboy, although the piece was never written. In 1974, she named Isabel Bayley, a woman she had met at a Kansas University seminar in 1948, as her literary trustee. The Never-Ending Wrong, a book about the Sacco-Vanzetti affair, came out in 1977. Early that same year, Porter suffered several debilitating strokes, from which she never recovered; her nephew Paul Porter was appointed as legal guardian in the fall. After the strokes, Porter received nursing care around the clock until her long life ended on September 18, 1980.


The collection is organized as thireen series:

Series 1
Series 2
Series 3
Awards and Professional Activities
Series 4
Financial and Legal
Series 5
Series 6
Series 7
Printed Matter
Series 8
Series 9
Manuscripts of Other Individuals
Series 10
Audio Recordings
Series 11
Series 12
Series 13

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Due to the condition of the collection, users will access the microfilm surrogate for Series I-VI. Permission to view the original papers must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries acquired the Papers of Katherine Anne Porter through numerous donations and purchases beginning in 1966. Until 1977, most of the materials came from Porter herself, but donations and purchases from other individuals continue to be incorporated.

Porter was an unusually thorough collector of her own papers and saved incidental notes on scraps of paper in addition to manuscripts of major works and forty-year correspondences with individuals. Often she would come across a note many years after she wrote it and add further comments with the date and her initials. After the 1940s, Porter usually saved carbon copies of her outgoing correspondence; later, when she found that her original letters were being donated without her knowledge or consent to universities in collections of her friends' letters, she requested the return of her letters. As a result, both sides of the correspondence are often present in this collection.

From the early 1930s, numerous colleges and universities expressed interest in collecting parts or all of her literary manuscripts, and she donated some individual manuscripts to several of them. Porter was most interested in having her papers go to the University of Texas at Austin, but negotiations proved unsuccessful.

In February 1966, the University of Maryland offered Porter an honorary Doctor of Letters, to be awarded at the university's June commencement. Porter, who was ill and becoming weary of receiving honorary degrees, accepted the degree but was unable to attend the ceremony. Dr. Wilson Elkins, then university president, brought the ceremony to her. On June 28, 1966, university officials presented her degree in her home in Washington, D.C. Porter was so delighted with the honor and attention that on the morning of October 11, 1966, she called Robert A. Beach, Jr., Assistant to the President for University Relations, and offered the university her "tons and bales" of papers, including her personal library. The following week, Porter added her collections of letters, photographs, and her library furniture to the gift, and the university agreed to create and maintain the Katherine Anne Porter Room to display and make available parts of the collection to scholars. The Katherine Anne Porter Room opened May 15, 1968, Porter's seventy-eighth birthday, with a ceremony that included a performance of pieces from her French Song-Book by the university Madrigal Singers.

Porter sent the first box of items to the university on October 25, 1966. She continued to send small numbers of items until 1977. The largest single shipment of 1,231 books arrived in 1969. Porter's friends also donated items for the collection, including E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., and Monroe Wheeler.

After Porter's death in 1980, her nephew and executor Paul Porter sold the remainder of her papers to the university. Beginning in 1980, the university continued to acquire items for the collection by purchase and donation; in most cases, these were integrated into the Porter collection, though some were established as ancillary collections.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm of Series I-VI is available for loan at a qualified institution. A researcher or qualified borrowing institution may initiate a loan request by contacting their Interlibrary Loan (ILL) program.

Related Materials

Materials related to the Papers of Katherine Anne Porter held by the Special Collections and Univeristy Archives include the papers of Cyrilly Abels (1950-1975); Isabel Bayley (1871-1993); Mary Louis Doherty (1920-1963); Donald Elder (1940-1963); Ann Heintze (1945-1977); Seymour Lawrence (1955-1980); Harry C. Perry (1959-1962); Paul Porter (1892-1980); E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr. (1963-1977); Mr. and Mrs. John A. Prince (1958-1978); Grace Delafield Day Spier (1928-1931); Thomas F. Walsh (1921-1992); Glenway Wescott (1932-1977); and George and Toni Willison (1932-1996).

The Porter book collection is fully catalogued and accessible through the University of Maryland Libraries' online catalog. An inventory of the books is also available in series 13: Library

Processing Information

Although Porter was an exceptional saver of materials, she tended to store them in some disarray. Photographs of her homes at various times show letters heaped in baskets and piled on tables and desks; she was often unable to find materials she wished to locate. By the early 1960s, after the success of Ship of Fools, she began to hire secretaries not only to keep up with her steadily growing correspondence and business, but to arrange and file her past correspondence and manuscripts. Much of the correspondence retains marks from those individuals; there are many cross-references marked in blue ballpoint pen at the bottoms of letters. Porter also tried to identify and date letters, with varying success.

As Porter's papers arrived at the University of Maryland Libraries in numerous accessions from 1966 to 1981, augmented with other donations and purchases, no coherent original order can be claimed for the collection. Dr. Robert Beare, the former University of Maryland Libraries' staff member who compiled the accession inventories as the materials arrived in the late 1960s and early 1970s, noted that he rearranged the materials somewhat. By 1978, an individual had divided the collection into seven series and prepared a guide. The large group of additional materials purchased from Porter's estate after her death were added to the collection after 1981, mostly as a second alphabetical sequence in the correspondence series. Materials were filed under name of correspondent, with little or no reference to corporate entity. Greeting cards, telegrams, and postcards were kept separate in unsorted genre categories, with no name or subject access. There were other series for manuscripts, personal, printed materials, clippings, serials, and miscellaneous items. There were also lists created for the photographs and memorabilia. The clippings and audio recordings remained largely unprocessed.

Complete reprocessing began in September 1994 in preparation for creating a microfilm edition of the papers and continued through 1997. The existing seven series were subdivided and augmented into twelve new series.

Series I: Correspondence was subdivided into groups that correspond to other series: Agents and Publishing Activities; Derivative Works; Financial and Legal; Personal; Professional Activities, Lectures, Awards, and Interviews; Students, Family--To Porter; Family--To Others; and Chronological. Correspondence with individuals was sorted into these categories according to the person's primary relationship with Porter; Cyrilly Abels, for instance, is placed under Agents and Publishing Activities even though she and Porter were also very close friends, because publishing formed the basis for their relationship. Likewise, correspondence with her lawyer and friend Barrett Prettyman is kept in the Financial and Legal subsection even though a great deal of it is personal, since Prettyman was first and foremost her lawyer.

Miscellaneous materials formerly sorted alphabetically were grouped chronologically. Some materials not accessible by name, like autograph requests, review requests, and letters from schoolchildren, were moved to genre folders; those folders reside at the end of the appropriate subgroup and are not included in the alphabetical sequence. Special formats, including greeting cards, invitations, telegrams, cards that came with flowers, and postcards, were filed under the appropriate correspondent and included in the chronological sequence. Numerous materials, including newspaper clippings, printed material, receipts, other people's manuscripts, and photographs, were removed to other series, except when they had specific notes attached or written on them and moving them would have affected their contextual information. Newspaper clippings that contain notes from the individual who sent them or that would lose context by relocation to the Clippings series are also retained. Manuscripts enclosed with correspondence were moved to Series IX, with a cross-reference retained. Most carbon copies that were exact copies of the original were discarded.

Newspaper clippings and printed telegrams were copied to acid-free paper, and the originals discarded. The processor also discarded duplicate carbon and photostat copies, except when they had additional annotations or changes, and destroyed them. The processor added personal and corporate name indexes and cross-references to other series lists.

Numerous materials from Series II: Writings, including newspaper clippings, correspondence, serials, and manuscripts of other individuals, were moved into more appropriate series. Much of the work of reprocessing this series involved arranging the large volume of miscellaneous materials filed in twenty-seven folders labeled "Notes" and ten folders labeled "Mexico--notes." The contents of these folders were examined closely and sorted. Some materials were filed with related materials in existing files. New subject categories were created to bring together significant manuscript materials previously located among the miscellaneous notes and in specific subject or title categories. Important among these new subjects are "Daybook" and "Mexican daybook" that contain Porter's notes and observations, which made a sort of unsystematic record of her activities and thoughts over the years. Fragments and drafts of fiction never completed by Porter have been brought together under the categories "Fiction" and "Mexican fiction." Also brought together in the new arrangement are Porter's poetry, book reviews, translations, and interviews she granted. Her notes and drafts on writers, both individuals and general categories, were all rearranged to appear under the general heading "Writers."

The former Personal series contained a mix of Porter's personal, legal, financial, business, and award materials. These materials were separated into three series: Series III: Awards and Professional Activities; Series IV: Financial and Legal; and Series V: Personal. Award certificates and honorary diplomas were moved from Series XII: Memorabilia. Financial and legal correspondence, originally mixed in with these documents, was moved to Series I: Correspondence. Porter's 1933 wedding certificate was originally filed with travel materials in the series for printed matter, and her 1938 marriage and 1942 divorce papers were originally with the Albert Erskine correspondence in Series I: Correspondence. A number of other pieces were also moved from Series I. Some of Porter's writings, including Apologia Pro Vita, daybooks, autobiographical and biographical notes, personal notes, and travel notes, were originally found in this group; they are now in Series II: Writings. A number of art prints and travel materials were moved to Series VII: Printed Matter, and the two chest x-rays to Series XII: Photographs. Porter's notes on recipes and food were originally intermingled with newspaper and magazine clippings of recipes; the clippings were moved to Series VI: Clippings and the notes moved to Series V: Personal. Several calendars without annotations were discarded.

Series VI: Clippings formerly existed in gross disarray. Porter's original arrangement of the clippings has been lost, and the state in which they arrived at the University of Maryland Libraries is unknown. In September 1995, the clippings were placed in an artificial series order. The series was divided in four groups: By Porter (1919-1975 and n.d.), which includes her early newspaper work and book reviews; About Porter (1919-1977 and n.d.), which includes both feature articles on her and articles that mention her in passing; Reviews of Porter's Works (1930-1977 and n.d.), including brief mentions of works; and Collected by Porter (1928 1978 and n.d.), which consists of articles she collected on a wide variety of subjects. Materials are arranged by subject, then chronologically. There are a few undated pieces and fragments at the end of each subject group. Some materials that were dated after 1980, and were therefore not collected by Porter, were removed to an auxiliary collection. The Ray Lewis White collection was placed as an addendum to this series, arranged by subject, then chronologically. Sixty-four of these duplicated clippings that Porter collected were discarded. For the microfilm edition, the clippings were affixed to legal-size paper, either by photocopying or by cutting and taping. Oversized items were relocated to the end of the series.

Series VII: Printed Matter consists mostly of materials formerly in various series that have been arranged into fourteen subgroups. Within these subgroups, materials were arranged alphabetically by title or assigned subject. Some materials with no research value were discarded. Since it was deemed better to separate the materials by genre, some materials in the travel section were retrieved from the original Series III: Personal, where they resided with Porter's notes and receipts from various European trips. A few other items, including reprints from serials and monographs and travel materials, were moved from the former Series V: Clippings and from the former Series III: Personal.

Series VIII: Serials was in fairly good order before October 1995, when materials were checked against an existing inventory, and the processor added dates to the inventory. Many items were moved to Series VIII from Series I, II, III, IV, and V.

Series IX: Manuscripts of Other Individuals was originally a subseries of Series II: Writings. In December 1995, this series was removed from Series II to separate them from Porter's creations. In March 1996, a number of uncorrected page proofs were found in the Porter book collection and removed to this series. Several printed materials (short stories, reprints from serials) were moved to Series VII: Printed Matter, and critical works on Porter clipped from serials were moved to Series VI: Clippings. A number of other materials were found in other series, particularly Series I: Correspondence, and were separated for the microfilm edition. Letters originally sent with materials can be found in Series I under the author's name.

Series X: Audio Recordings was first processed in September 1994, when the 728 audio discs and reel-to-reel audio tapes were sorted and compared with the original inventory list that was prepared when the recordings were accessioned in 1966. This preliminary inventory was converted into an electronic file that was divided and arranged in three parts: music, literary and historical, and recordings of Porter and her works. The items in the first and second parts were reordered alphabetically by composer, author, or recording artist. Those in the third group were ordered chronologically. A fourth group, Manuscripts, was added. Porter grouped many of her music recordings in "personal albums," folders that contained multiple discs. Photocopies of the contents lists on the outside of the folders were retained in the Manuscripts portion of the series, but the folders were discarded and the contents were rearranged. The audio discs also contained manuscript materials such as cards, newspaper articles, and notes written by Porter or other people. These items were removed and placed in the Manuscripts section, arranged in the same order as the albums from which they came. After the reorganization of the inventory was complete, the audio recordings themselves were rearranged to correspond with the inventory.

Some of the items in Series XI: Memorabilia have been on display since the original Katherine Anne Porter Room opened in McKeldin Library in 1968. The Porter Room was closed during the McKeldin Library renovations in 1990-1993 and again in 2000-2001. The Porter Room reopened in Hornbake Library in April 2001. A detailed guide was created for the Porter room and its contents in 1993 and updated when additional donations were acquired. In summer 1995, a textile conservator examined some of these items. Another conservator evaluated the furniture in 1995. Professional conservation was performed on the eigthteenth-century sofa in 2000-2001. In August 1996, the objects were placed in six categories: Awards and Medals; Caricature, Drawings, Framed Letters, and Paintings; Furniture; Objects; Scrapbooks; and Textiles and Apparel. Framed honorary degrees and awards that were originally in this series were removed to Series III: Awards and Professional Activities. Framed photographs, which were also originally in this series, were moved to Series X: Photographs. Memorabilia items not on display are housed in appropriate storage; other objects remain on display in the Katherine Anne Porter Room.

Series XII: Photographs was processed and indexed in the late 1980s. Between 1993 and 1998, it was partially reprocessed. Rehousing of the collection into Mylar sleeves and acid-free boxes was completed in 1999. This series remains only partially reprocessed.

Most of the materials in the Papers of Katherine Anne Porter are stored in new acid-free folders and boxes. Metal paper clips and staples were removed during processing. Oversize items were flattened and moved to map case drawers or other oversize storage, as appropriate. Very fragile items were enclosed in mylar sleeves; some of these have also been evaluated and treated by a paper conservator.

Guide to the Katherine Anne Porter papers
Processed by Jodi L. Allison-Bunnell, Ruth M. Alvarez, Jennifer Bourget, Patricia J. Rettig, Rachel S. Vagts, and Rebecca Zeltinger. Guide completed in December 1998. Revised April 2005, March 2009, June 2009, September 2009, May 2010, October 2010, February 2011.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Funded in part by the Summerlee Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Revision Statements

  • 2007-04-15: EAD markup checked and verified using JEdit software by Jennie A. Levine, April 2007.
  • 2018-07-31: Finding aid reviewed and revised post ArchivesSpace migration by Joanne Archer
  • 2018-07-31: Item level description added for Series 1 correspondence via the API. Digital objects for Series 1 added via the API by Bria Parker
  • 2020-12: Series 13 added by Caroline Ackiewicz

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

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