Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Lockridge mss. II, 1941-1975, consist primarily of correspondence from author Ross Franklin Lockridge, Jr., 1914-1948, to various individuals. The Lilly Library acquired these letters to complement the manuscript files for Lockridge's book, Raintree County. Many of the letters discuss the success of Raintree County as well as Lockridge's untimely death.

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.

The collection is organized chronologically by date of correspondence. Correspondents include: Ruth Allison Coates; Emily Rosenstein Lehrman; Dorothy McCrea; Robert McCrea; Donald Smalley; Ruth Smalley; Craig Wylie. The collection also includes Lockridge's notes from a creative writing class he taught at Simmons College, newspaper clippings regarding his death, and Craig Wylie's notes on Raintree County.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 1991-1998

Collection size: 30 items

Related manuscripts: Lockridge mss., 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.