Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Lockridge mss., 1941-1947, consist of writings of Ross Franklin Lockridge, Jr.,1914-1948. They include the manuscripts of The Dream of the Flesh of Iron and Raintree County.

Lockridge was born on April 25, 1914 in Bloomington, Indiana. The family moved to Fort Wayne for several years, but later returned to Bloomington. Lockridge attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where he was known for his impressive academic record. In 1937, he married Vernice Baker and together the couple had four children, Ernest, Jeanne, Ross, and Lawrence. Lockridge died on March 6, 1948 in Bloomington, Indiana, several weeks after the publication of Raintree County. The novel was his only book.

Published in 1948, Raintree County is considered by some to be the "Great American Novel." The story follows the character John Shawnessey during the course of a single day, July 4, 1892, and features flashbacks to the time period after the Civil War. It is set in the fictional Raintree County, which is in part based on Henry County, Indiana, where Lockridge spent his childhood summers at his grandmother's home. Both the original and printer's manuscripts contain extensive revisions and edits made by Lockridge.

The Dream of the Flesh of Iron is an unpublished epic poem that Lockridge wrote while teaching as a graduate student at Harvard. It is 399 pages long.

The collection also contains a photograph of Lockridge, a folder with a small amount of notes about Raintree County, and a fragment of the full manuscript.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 1968-1969

Collection size: 34 items

Related manuscripts: Lockridge mss. II, Lockridge mss. III

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.