Cheney, Frances Neel



  • Existence: 19 August 1906 - 5 May 1996


Frances Neel was born on August 19, 1906, in Washington D.C. to Carrie Tucker and Thomas Meeks Neel. She grew up in Newbury, South Carolina and began school at Vanderbilt University in the fall of 1924. As a student, she studied with John Crowe Ransom, worked at the Vanderbilt Library and was good friends with Cleanth Brooks, with whom she had a written correspondence. In June 1928, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Vanderbilt University, married Brainard Cheney, and began a full time job at the Vanderbilt University Library. From 1930-43, she served as head of the Reference department at Vanderbilt University and then for the Joint University Libraries. In 1940, she received her Master of Library Science Degree from Columbia University. She wrote the Current Reference Books column for the Wilson Library Bulletin for thirty years. From 1943-46, she worked at the Library of Congress. While she and Brainard were living in Washington, D. C., Allen Tate served a one-year term as the poet laureate; he and Caroline Gordon lived with the Cheneys for that year and joined them in entertaining many literary friends. In 1946, the Cheneys moved to Smyrna, Tennessee, and Frances began teaching reference courses at Peabody Library School and in 1960 assumed the school’s Associate Director position, retiring in 1975. Frances Neel Cheney died on May 5, 1996, 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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