Andrew Nelson Lytle Papers - 1988 Addition

Identifier: MSS.0603

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Andrew Nelson Lytle (1902-1995), author, educator, editor, critic and Vanderbilt University alumnus (B.A. 1925), were acquired from Mr. Lytle in three segments. The first and largest of these segments arrived in 1968, and a smaller group of items appeared later in 1968. This third portion was not acquired until 1988.

A preliminary organization was performed on the collection in 1988, but until now had not been fully processed. This collection consists of copied material and is valued for its informational content such as extensive letters from Lytle’s wife, Edna Langdon Barker Lytle. Included within this collection is correspondence, writings, writings about Lytle, family documents, and financial documents.

Series Descriptions:

Series I: Correspondence (1922-1988) is contained in 2 boxes of this collection. The series is subdivided into Outgoing (1937-1958) and Incoming (1922-1988).

The Outgoing Correspondence is comprised of 71 letters that are arranged chronologically. The date of the postmark was used when a letter was undated. The majority of outgoing correspondence is to Lytle’s wife, Edna Langdon Barker Lytle. There are three undated outgoing letters without postmarked envelopes.

The Incoming Correspondence is made up of 582 letters and is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Letters were arranged chronologically when more than one letter of a correspondent was present. As with the outgoing correspondence, the incoming correspondence used the postmark date of the envelope if the letter was undated. The affiliation of the correspondent is noted in parenthesis. Bracketed information indicates either to whom the correspondence is directed if other than Andrew Lytle or gives additional details about the correspondence. Dates are inclusive dates of the correspondence. There are several letters from Edna Langdon Barker Lytle, Andrew’s wife. Series II: Writings by Lytle make up seven folders within this collection. All writings are typescript essays.

Series III: Writings about Lytle is comprised of four folders that are writings about Andrew Lytle or his writings.

Series IV: Family (1959) contains one folder of a grade report for Pamela Lytle at St. Mary’s School in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Series V: Financial (1982-1988) contains one folder that makes up the financial series. The folder consists of various financial documents, such as bills, a royalty statement, a reprint permission fee form, a receipt, and a purchase order from Austin Peay State University.

For details of Lytle's life and works, the following are recommended: - Lucas, Mark. "Andrew Lytle," in Fifty Southern Writers After 1900. Joseph M. Flora and Robert Bain, eds. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987. (Pages 290-300) - Lytle, Andrew Nelson. A Wake For The Living: A Family Chronicle. New York: Crown Publishers, 1975. - Polk, Noel. "Andrew Nelson Lytle: A Biography of His Writings," Mississippi Quarterly 23 (Fall, 1970): 435-491 - Wright, Stuart T. Andrew Nelson Lytle: A Bibliography, 1920-1982. Sewanee, TN: University of the South, 1982.


  • 1922 - 1988


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection may be viewed only in the reading room of Special Collections in the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Collections should be requested 2-3 days prior to visiting in order to facilitate easier access. For questions or to request a collection, contact

Copyright Information

Andrew Lytle's literary executor is his son-in-law, George Chamberlain of Sewanee.

Chronology - Andrew Lytle

  • 1902 Born on December 26, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Robert Logan and Lillie Belle Lytle.
  • 1907 Father buys the Log Cabin at Monteagle, Tennessee.
  • 1916-1920 Enrolls in Sewanee Military Academy as a day student in fall of 1916; attends as boarding student after fall of 1917 when mother buys house in Sewanee; wins the Golden Medal for Scholarship; upon graduation is offered, but refuses an appointment to West Point; travels in France with mother and sister, Polly; writes a letter from France to Sewanee's headmaster, Major Henry Gass, which is printed in The Little Tiger, the student publication; prepares for admission to Oxford while at the home of Mademoiselle Durieux on the Left Bank in Paris with an English tutor; studies fencing.
  • 1921 Enters Exeter College, Oxford; called home after three weeks because of death of grandfather, John Nelson; enrolls in Vanderbilt in fall to be near grandmother, Molly Nelson, in Murfreesboro.
  • 1922 Takes sophomore literature under Donald Davidson.
  • 1923 Publishes two poems in Vanderbilt's undergraduate review, Driftwood Flames, "Hill Cattle" and "Une Reflexion."
  • 1924 Becomes a student of John Crowe Ransom and a classmate of Robert Penn Warren during Vanderbilt career; writes Journal of European Tour: 1 July – 6 September 1924; attends Fugitive meetings during senior year.
  • 1925 Publishes "Edward Graves" in March issue of The Fugitives; Vanderbilt's Calumet Club produces his one-act play The Gold Tooth; graduates from Vanderbilt with B.A. degree; goes to Guntersville, Alabama, where he runs his father's farm, Cornsilk, for a year.
  • 1926 Begins a long play entitled New Ground: raises strawberries; becomes a student of George Pierce Baker at the 47 Workshop at Yale in the fall; wins several acting roles.
  • 1927 Receives an invitation from Tate in March to visit him at 27 Bank Street, New York City; their friendship begins.
  • 1928 Baker's Experimental Theatre produces his one-act play, The Lost Sheep; earns a role in a twelve-week Broadway production of The Grey Fox.
  • 1929 Lytle does research for a biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest; plans a biography of J.C. Calhoun; lives with paralytic boy as a paid housekeeper; returns to South in May to continue Forrest research; spends June in New York trying out for The Patriarch which open is fall [1926]; becomes involved in plans for an Agrarian offensive.
  • 1930 Contributes "The Hind Tit" to Agrarian symposium; argues against title, I'll Take My Stand; continues work on Forrest.
  • 1931 Oversees strawberry crop in Huntsville, Alabama; publishes Bedford Forrest and His Critter Company; reviews Stribling's The Forge in "Life in the Cotton Belt" for New Republic; is reported in July in Huntsville's The Times to advocate erecting a Forrest statue; returns to Southampton on Long Island in summer where, with George Haight as director and treasurer, he and others start the Hampton Players; in July performs in The Immodest Violet; reviews four Lincoln books for Virginia Quarterly Review in "The Lincoln Myth."
  • 1932 Publishes first piece of fiction, "Old Scratch in the Valley," in Virginia Quarterly Review; decides against Calhoun biography; reviews book on Robert Barnwell Rhett and one of Edmund Ruffin for Hound and Horn in "Principles of Secession"; visits Albemarle, Virginia; there becomes engaged to a daughter of the Pattons who, in September, breaks the engagement; gets involved in a legal battle over mortgage rights to Cornsilk; continues to work on long play; begins "Mr. MacGregor." His mother dies.
  • 1933 Reviews book on Sherman for Virginia Quarterly Review in "A Tactical Blunder"; contributes "A Confederate General" to New Republic; finishes revision of "The Backwoods Progression" and publishes it in American Review.
  • 1934 Receives Owsley's narrative of his Uncle Dink in June; attends Alabama Writers' Conference; completes "John Taylor and the Political Economy," a three-part essay published in American Review; spends Christmas in New Orleans with Tates.
  • 1935 Publishes "The Passion of Aleck Maury," a review of Caroline Gordon's novel in New Republic; attends the Mercantile Library Association meeting in Cincinnati with Tate; "Mr. MacGregor" appears in Virginia Quarterly Review in April; works on a play, possibly The Gold Dust Family, while at Cornsilk; reviews Chilton's Follow The Furies and later, Freeman's R.E. Lee in The Southern Review; begins paper for second agrarian symposium.
  • 1936 Becomes professor of American History at Southwestern College in Memphis; "Jericho, Jericho" appears in The Southern Review; contributes "The Small Farm Secures the State" to Who Owns America?; by August the Alabama Supreme Court decides in favor of his father in the farm lawsuit; "The Approach of the Southern Writer to His Material" appears in The Atlanta Constitution.
  • 1937 Goes to New Orleans in February then on to Hollywood; visits George Haight and investigates movie possibilities; helps wage campaign to retain Ransom at Vanderbilt; begins work on At The Moon's Inn.
  • 1938 Reviews Styron's The Cast Iron Man in "John C. Calhoun" for The Southern Review; continues research on De Soto in Nashville and Little Rock; marries Edna Langdon Barker in June; spends three months in California working on novel; moves to Monteagle in fall.
  • 1939 Attends Writers' Conference in Savannah; continues work on De Soto and publishes excerpt, "A Fragment: How Nuno Tovar Came to Cross the Ocean Sea," in June; remains at Monteagle but buys a 330-acre farm in Robertson County, Tennessee.
  • 1940 Receives Guggenheim Fellowship; spends part of summer with Tates at Princeton; in December, secures 627 Dumaine Street in New Orleans for three months and works on De Soto.
  • 1941 Gets a three-month extension of Guggenheim; returns to Monteagle around June first; accepts offer of a rent-free house at Sewanee in exchange for public lectures; At The Moon's Inn appears November 16, the day his first daughter, Pamela, is born.
  • 1942 Accepts a teaching position at Sewanee Military Academy; later becomes professor of history at the University of the South and managing editor of Sewanee Review; "Alchemy" comes out in Kenyon Review.
  • 1943 Reviews Freeman's Lee's Lieutenants for Sewanee Review; father dies on Valentine's Day in Guntersville; sells what remains of Cornsilk after TVA flooding; spends summer at farm in Portland in Robertson County; publishes a review of Warren's At Heaven's Gate in Sewanee Review; declines job in war department.
  • 1944 Raises turkeys and tobacco in Portland; continues to edit Review through spring issue; goes on duck hunt to Reelfoot Lake which contributes to the creation of "The Guide."
  • 1945 "The Guide" (later "The Mahogany Frame") appears in Sewanee Review and wins Lytle a cash prize from Prentice-Hall.
  • 1946 Remains in Portland and begins work on A Name for Evil; a second daughter, Katherine Anne, is born on May 12.
  • 1947 Goes to University of Iowa for spring semester to take over fiction classes and work on novella; makes a three-day trip to California in April; spends summer in Portland finishing A Name for Evil which comes out in August; returns to Iowa in fall as Acting Head of the Iowa University School of Writing; Flannery O'Connor is in his writing class.
  • 1948 Takes over household chores while Edna recuperates from an operation; attends a ten-day workshop in Missouri in June; returns to Portland; publishes "Note on a Traditional Sensibility," a tribute to Ransom in Sewanee Review; in fall accepts position of Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
  • 1949 Publishes "Regeneration for Man," an essay on Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust in Sewanee Review; starts work on what will become The Velvet Horn; sells Log Cabin to the Woman's Association; begins building a house in Gainesville; assesses Gordon's fiction in a Sewanee Review essay entitled "Caroline Gordon and the Historic Image."
  • 1950 Moves into newly finished house at 1822 North West Ave. in May.
  • 1951 Continues work on The Velvet Horn.
  • 1952 Contributes to "The Agrarian Today," a symposium published in Shenandoah; leases Portland farm.
  • 1953 Submits "How Many Miles to Babylon" to the Hopkins symposium; "Image as the Guide to Meaning in the Historical Novel" appears in Sewanee Review; the third daughter, Lillie Langdon is born November 15.
  • 1954 Heads the humanities division of the International Seminar of the Harvard Summer School; visits the Allen Tates in Princeton; works five weeks on a Faulkner paper; reviews Gerald Carson's The Old Country Store for The Southern Folklore Quarterly; goes to New York in December to summarize three papers given at the MLA symposium, "The Southern Literary Renaissance."
  • 1955 Publishes Faulkner essay, "The Son of Man: He Will Prevail," in Sewanee Review; continues work on The Velvet Horn; his "A Summing Up," along with the three other papers from the MLA symposium, is published in Shenandoah.
  • 1956 Participates in the Fugitives' Reunion held at Vanderbilt, May 3-5; "What Quarter of the Night," an excerpt from The Velvet Horn, still in progress, appears in Sewanee Review; publishes "A Hero and the Doctrinaires of Defeat" in The Georgia Review and an essay on Gordon's collection of short stories, The Forest of the South, in Critique.
  • 1957 Leaves Bobbs-Merrill for McDowell, Obolensky; sells Portland farm in April; publishes an essay on Faulkner, "The Town: Helen's Last Stand" in Sewanee Review; The Velvet Horn comes out in August; goes to New York to promote sales.
  • 1958 Reviews works by Walter Sullivan, Howard Nemerov, and Peter Taylor in "The Displaced Family" in Sewanee Review; reviews The Lasting South, ed. by Kilpatrick and Rubin, in "The Quality of the South" for National Review; A Novel, Novella and Four Stories comes out with a new "Foreword"; reviews Cheney's This Is Adam and Wright's The Long Dream in "Man or Symbol" for National Review.
  • 1959 "The Working Novelist and the Mythmaking Process" appears in Daedalus; has a serious operation in June which forces him to cancel a summer lectureship at Harvard; attends McDowell, Obolensky anniversary party in New York in August; visits Tate and Isabella at Princeton; publishes "Allen Tate: Upon the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday" in Sewanee Review; writes an introduction for a new printing of Forrest; spends Christmas with Tates in Florida.
  • 1960 Funding from Guggenheim Fellowship begins; makes plans to write memoir; travels to Mexico, but Edna becomes ill there; returns to Florida then Memphis where she is diagnosed as having lung cancer; buys back the Log Cabin from the Woman's Association; the new printing of Forrest appears.
  • 1961 Takes leave of absence from Gainesville in May to edit Sewanee Review and becomes lecturer in English at the University of the South; begins editing Review with Autumn number.
  • 1962 Attends Literary Festival in Spartanburg and ALMA in New York; works on essay on impressionism.
  • 1963 Learns that Edna's cancer has returned; publishes "Agee's Letters to Father Flye" in Sewanee Review and "Impressionism, the Ego and the First Person" in Daedalus; is called back to hospital during Vanderbilt's annual symposium; Edna dies April 26; invites Pamela and her husband, Jim Law, to move in the Log Cabin; fulfills engagements at Richmond, Kentucky, and Tryon, North Carolina, before attending the William Elliott celebration in Cambridge in July.
  • 1964 Undergoes another serious operation in spring; daughter Kate marries in August; delivers Founder's Day Address, "A Christian University and the Word," at Sewanee in October; publishes a tribute to Flannery O'Connor in Espirit, the literary magazine of the University of Scranton.
  • 1965 Plans a special issue of the Review devoted to Eliot and guest edited by Tate; is accorded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Kenyon; publishes an essay on Hemingway, "A Moveable Feast: The Going To and Fro" and one on Bovary, "In Defense of a Passionate and Incorruptible Heart" in Sewanee Review.
  • 1966 Brings out Eliot issue; participates in a discussion published in Alabama Alumni News as "And Like All Good Conversations It Never Ends"; adds "'The Open Boat': A Pagan Tale" to the essays collected and published as The Hero with the Private Parts; receives the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities Award.
  • 1967 "A Wake for the Living" appears in Sewanee Review as an excerpt from a memoir by that name, still in progress.
  • 1968 Attends Dallas Literary Festival honoring Nashville Agrarians and presents paper on Joyce; promoted to rank of Professor of English at University of the South.
  • 1969 A Name for Evil appears an unauthorized Avon Paperback; "A Reading of Joyce's 'The Dead'" printed in Sewanee Review; adds "Forward" to a collection of Owsley's essays, The South: Old and New Frontiers.
  • 1970 Accorded honorary Doctor of Letters degree by University of Florida during Florida's Writers' Conference; "Jericho, Jericho, Jericho" is dramatized at Vanderbilt.
  • 1971 "The Garden of Innocence," a second excerpt from The Wake and "The State of Letters in a Time of Disorder" appear in Sewanee Review; edits and prepares "Forward" to Craft and Vision: The Best Fiction from "The Sewanee Review."
  • 1972 "The Old Neighborhood," a third excerpt from the memoir in progress, appears in The Southern Review.
  • 1973 A surreptitious Avon Paperback of The Long Night comes out in March; retires as editor of Sewanee Review with the Autumn issue; accorded honorary Doctor of Letters degree from University of the South.
  • 1974 Serves as Vanderbilt's Visiting Professor during spring semester.
  • 1975 Moves to a 75-acre farm in Kentucky in April; A Wake for the Living appears in July; a response to questions is recorded in South Dakota Review as "The Writer's Sense of Place."
  • 1977 Composes a tribute to Peter Taylor, "On a Birthday," for Shenandoah. Sells the Kentucky farms and moves back to the Log Cabin.
  • 1978 Writes "A Ploughman's Politics" on the republication of John Taylor of Caroline's Arator for Modern Age.
  • 1979 Prepares an "Introduction" for the Palaemon Press's limited edition of Alchemy; contributes "The Momentary Man" to The Hillsdale Review, a publication of Hillsdale College, Michigan.
  • 1980 Publishes "They Took Their Stand: The Agrarian View After Fifty Years" in Modern Age and, separately, as Reflections of a Ghost; contributes an untitled response to the question "Is Regional Writing Dead?" for The Student, a publication of Wake Forest University; publishes a reminiscence, "A Journey South," in Kentucky Review; attends Vanderbilt's Fiftieth Anniversary of the Agrarian Manifesto; participates in a discussion published as "The Agrarian-Industrial Metaphor" in A Band of Prophets, ed. by Harvard and Sullivan; writes "A Tribute" for the Katherine Anne Porter entry in the 1980 Yearbook of Dictionary of Literary Biography.
  • 1981 Publishes "The Artists in a Time of Disorder" in The Chattahoochee Review; "A Partial Reading of Parade's End or the Hero as an Old Furniture Dealer" in The Presence of Ford Madox Ford; "The Search for Order in American Society: The Southern Response" in The Southern Partisan; the "Afterword" to Why The South Will Survive; and "A Tribute" for the Caroline Gordon entry in the 1981 Yearbook of Dictionary of Literary Biography.
  • 1982 Nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom; honored at a celebration of his eightieth birthday at Sewanee; The Velvet Horn is reprinted; "Allen Tate and John Peale Bishop" appears in Grand Street; "Recollection and Reflection" appears in Mountain Voices: The Centennial History of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly.
  • 1983 Adds a personal perspective on Frances Cheney in References Services and Library Education: Essays in Honor of Frances Neel Cheney.
  • 1984 Alchemy and Other Stories published; Bedford Forrest reprinted: "Three Ways of Making a Saint: A Reading of 'Three Tales" by Flaubert" appears in Southern Review; Katherine Anne Liggett, Lytle's daughter, dies in Pensacola.
  • 1985 Writes "Foreword" to Shakes peare's Insistent Theme, a volume in honor of Charles Harrison. Wins the Lynhurst Foundation grant.
  • 1986 Awarded the Ingersoll Foundation prize, the Richard M. Weaver Award for Scholarly Letters given in Chicago in November. Continues to live in the Log Cabin at Monteagle.
  • 1995 Lytle dies in his Monteagle cabin at the age of 92 on December 14, from an illness he had for many years. He was the last surviving member of the Agrarian literary group.


1.26 Linear Feet


The Papers of Andrew Nelson Lytle (1902-1995), author, educator, editor, critic and Vanderbilt University alumnus (B.A. 1925), were acquired from Mr. Lytle in three segments. Lytle was a member of the Agrarian literary movement and was close colleagues with Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, and Allen Tate.

Physical Location

Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the The Andrew Nelson Lytle Papers - 1988 Addition
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Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Jean and Alexander Heard Library
419 21st Avenue South
Nashville TN 37203 United States


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