Cheney, Brainard



  • Existence: 3 June 1900 - 15 January 1990


Brainard Bartwell Cheney was born on June 3, 1900, in Fitzgerald, Georgia, to Mattie Mood and Brainard Bartwell Cheney. He attended the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, from 1917 to 1919 and enlisted in the United States Army in 1918. He spent one semester at Vanderbilt University in 1920 but ran out of funds and worked as a school principal in Georgia from 1921-1924. Attended Vanderbilt again during the 1924-1925 school year, completing his junior year, but he did not have enough money to continue his studies. He continued to live in Nashville with Ralph McGill and became friends with several members of the Fugitive group. In September, Cheney joined the staff of the Nashville Banner newspaper as a police reporter. He married Frances Neel Cheney on June 21, 1928. In 1931, through their close friend, Robert Penn Warren, the Cheneys became acquainted with Allen Tate and Caroline Gordon, a friendship which had lasting importance to the Cheneys for religious reasons and to Brainard in particular for literary reasons. Over his lifetime, Cheney produced several plays and published several novels, including World Without Words, Lightwood, River Rouge, This Is Adam, and Devil’s Elbow. In 1940, he received a Fellowship to attend the Breadloaf Writers Conference in Vermont, where he met Wallace Stegner, Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, and Robert Frost. He also became good friends with Flannery O’Connor. Cheney died on January 15, 1990, in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 89.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Brainard Bartwell Cheney and Frances Neel Cheney Papers

Identifier: MSS.0004

This collection contains the papers of Brainard Bartwell Cheney and Frances Neel Cheney. Major topics of interest include multiple versions of Brainard Cheney’s novels, the Pine Barrens and Rivers of Southeastern Georgia, materials relating to the Cheney’s friendships with many of the Fugitive/Agrarian writers, Brainard Cheney’s interest in Catholicism, Tennessee Politics in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, race relations and civil rights, Library Science and reference services.

Dates: 1841 - 1989; Majority of material found within 1940s-1970s


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