Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


Lockridge mss. III, ca. 1837-2000, consist of the correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, photos, papers, and audio tapes pertaining to the life and work of Ross Lockridge, Jr. and the Lockridge family.

Ross Lockridge, Jr. was born on April 25, 1914 in Bloomington, Indiana to Ross Lockridge, Sr. and Elsie Shockley Lockridge. After graduating from Bloomington High School in 1931, Lockridge matriculated to Indiana University. He spent his junior year, 1933-1934, in Paris at Sorbonne University, earning "first honors" among all scholarship winners. Lockridge received an A.B. from Indiana University in 1935 with the highest grade point average ever earned at IU. From 1936-1940 he had a teaching fellowship at Indiana University. In 1940 he earned a scholarship for advanced graduate study at Harvard, but declined an additional year in order to teach at Simmons College in Boston from 1941-1946.

In 1937 he married his high school sweetheart Vernice Baker. Together they had four children: Ernest (1938- ), Larry (1942- ), Jeanne (1944- ), and Ross III (1946- ).

Ross Lockridge, Jr. published Raintree County in January of 1948 after winning the MGM award worth $150,000 and a future movie deal. Raintree County was chosen by the Book-of-the-Month Club for its January 1948 selection. The movie Raintree County was released in 1957, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.

On March 6, 1948, Ross Lockridge Jr. committed suicide in Bloomington, Indiana at the age of 33.

The collection is organized into the following series: I-II. Correspondence; III. Unpublished Manuscripts; IV. The Riddle of Raintree County Manuscript; V. Non-Raintree County Publications; VI. Raintree County Background Materials; VII. Lockridge/Baker Families; VIII. Academic Career; IX. Photographs; X. Houghton Mifflin/Book-of-the-Month Club; XI. MGM; XII. Writings While Ill (1947-1948); XIII. Final Day and Death; XIV. RLJ (Ross Lockridge, Jr.) Estate Papers; XV. Journalism; XVI. Shade of the Raintree (SOTR); XVII. Audio-Visual; XVIII. Other; XIX. Books.

Correspondents include: Donald Blankertz; Paul Brooks; Malcolm Correll; Dorothy Hillyer; Curtis Lamorey; Brenton Webster Lockridge; Elsie Shockley Lockridge; Ernest Hugh Lockridge; Larry Shockley Lockridge; Lillian Lockridge; Ross Lockridge, Jr.; Ross Lockridge, Sr.; Vernice Baker Lockridge; Vivian Shockley Lockridge; Robert Masters; Marie Lockridge Peters; Robert Peters; Ed Quayle; Emma Rhoton Shockley; Frank Shockley; John Wesley Shockley; William B. Shockley; Don Smalley; Ruth Smalley; Martin Stone; Mary Jane Ward; Francis "Jeff" Wylie; Larry Wylie. The Final Days and Death series includes sympathy correspondence upon Ross Lockridge, Jr.'s death in March of 1948.

The Riddle of Raintree County Manuscript series includes multiple volumes and different versions of some volumes of the original manuscript for Ross Lcokridge, Jr.'s novel Raintree County. In the Raintree County Background Materials are works and correspondence that influenced Ross Lockridge, Jr. in writing Raintree County, including the Illustrated Historical Atlas of Henry County, Indiana containing images used in the front endpapers of the novel.

The Shade of the Raintree series is the research of Larry Shockley Lockridge, second son of Ross Lockridge, Jr., in writing his biography Shade of the Raintree: The Life and Death of Ross Lockridge, Jr. His research includes the audio tapes identified in the Audio-Visual series.

An inventory is available.

Books in the collection are catalogued in IUCAT. A list is included at the end of the inventory.

Acquired: 2011

Collection size: 75,000 items

Related manuscripts: Lockridge mss., Lockridge mss. II

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.