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Collection Number: 04270

Collection Title: Charles Mills Papers (#4270) 1937-1981

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size About 150 items (1.0 linear feet)
Abstract Charles Mills (1914-1975) was born in 1914 in Griffin, Ga. He married his wife Marguerite around 1935. In 1936, the Millses traveled to Italy where Charles studied singing and began his first book The Choice, which he completed in 1943. Mills's next book, The Alexandrians (1952), was written while he and his family were living Chapel Hill, N.C., where Mills studied languages at the University of North Carolina. This book was a panorama of life in the small Georgia town of Alexandria from the time of its settlement in 1839 until its centennial. Both of Mills's books were bestsellers. The collection includes mainly letters to Charles and Marguerite Mills from literary and academic colleagues and from personal friends. Significant correspondents include Walter Baxter, Lewis White Beck, Warren Pendleton Carrier, Elizabeth Henderson Cotten, Robert Fitzgerald, Allan H. Gilbert, Katharine Everett Gilbert, Paul Elliot Green, Archibald Henderson, Helmut Kuhn, Clare Leighton, Milton Charles Nahm, Betty Smith, and Nathan Comfort Starr. Also included are typed copies of writings of a few correspondents, probably sent to the Millses for review and a war journal Warren Carrier kept while serving in the American Field Service in Burma in 1944 and 1945.
Creator Mills, Charles, 1914 Jan. 8- .
Language English.
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Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Provenance
Received from Marguerite Mills of Penfield, N.Y., in May 1981. Addition of 6 items received March 1997 from William Z. Schenck of Washington, D.C. (Acc. 97026).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Charles Mills was born in 1914 in Griffin, Ga. He studied at the University of Virginia, the University of Florence (Italy), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He married his wife Marguerite around 1935. In 1936, the Millses traveled to Italy where Charles studied singing and began his first book, The Choice. The Millses left Italy in 1945 (just before the invasion of Munich, Germany) to return to the United States. In 1943 Charles Mills completed The Choice which was on the New York Times bestseller list for a time. Perhaps paralleling Mills's own life to an extent, the book depicts a young Southern man rebelling against the narrowness of his small-town Georgia life by traveling to Italy where he becomes more aware of his independence, passion, love of tradition and culture, and creative writing abilities.

Mills immediately began work on another novel, The Alexandrians. During this time he and his wife, young son, and two baby daughters lived in Chapel Hill, and he studied languages at the University of North Carolina. He served briefly in the military during World War II. By 1952 Mills had completed The Alexandrians, a novel on the South, also on bestseller lists. It is a panorama of life in the small Georgia town of Alexandria from the time of its settlement in 1839 until its centennial. Following the life of a central character, the book develops such themes as the struggle over slavery, religious intolerance, changing social customs, and the decline of the plantation economy. After Charles Mills's death in 1975, his wife lived in Penfield, N.Y.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection includes mainly letters to Charles Mills and Marguerite Mills from literary and academic colleagues and from personal friends. Significant correspondents include Walter Baxter, Lewis White Beck, Warren Pendleton Carrier, Elizabeth Henderson Cotten, Robert Fitzgerald, Allan H. Gilbert, Katharine Everett Gilbert, Paul Elliot Green, Archibald Henderson, Helmut Kuhn, Clare Leighton, Milton Charles Nahm, Betty Smith, and Nathan Comfort Starr. Also included are typed copies of writings of a few correspondents, probably sent to the Millses for review and a war journal Warren Carrier kept while serving in the American Field Service in Burma in 1944 and 1945.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1937-1981.

About 140 Items.

Arrangement: alphabetical by correspondent or subject, then chronological within each file.

Mainly correspondence to Charles and Marguerite Mills from colleagues and personal friends. Subjects include writing and publishing, traveling, professional service, religion, reviews of Charles Mills's books, family and social life, Italy, and World War II.

Notable correspondents include Elizabeth Henderson Cotten, Paul Green, and Archibald Henderson. Walter Baxter, English author of The Image and the Search, ca. 1953, wrote of his travels, Charles Mills's writings, and his own work. Warren Carrier, instrumental in starting the "Quarterly Review of Literature" in Chapel Hill in 1943, talked about his and Mills's writings and sent a war journal recorded while serving in the American Field Service in Burma in 1944 and 1945. Robert Fitzgerald, translator of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, spoke of his writings; university service, presumably at Harvard; family; and travels.

Allan and Katherine Gilbert, both professors at Duke University during the 1950s, wrote of family activities, writing, traveling, Venetian art and history, and professional service. Clare Leighton, author of Tempestuous Petticoat and an outstanding artist, wrote about many of the same subjects and also her work with engravings, mosaics, and writings. She spoke of Truman Capote in a letter dated 2 July 1948. Letters from poet Nathan C. Starr, scholar of the King Arthur Collection, relate work experience gained in the State Department during World War II. His letters also talk about his work, Mills's writings, and include a draft review of The Alexandrians.

Also included are a few printed items and an occasional press release or book review relating to the correspondents.

Marguerite (and Charles?) Mills annotated items and placed notes throughout the papers about who people were and, at times, giving background information.

Folder 1

Walter Baxter #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 1

Folder 2

Lewis W. Beck #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 2

Folder 3

Herman Borchardt #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 3

Folder 4

Vincent Campbell #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 4

Folder 5

Warren Carrier #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 5

Folder 6

Elizabeth Henderson Cotten (Mrs. Lyman) #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 6

Folder 7

J.B. Dwyer #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 7

Folder 8

Paul Engle #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 8

Folder 9

Robert Fitzgerald #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 9

Folder 10

Allan and Katharine Gilbert #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 10

Folder 11

Paul Green #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 11

Folder 12

Archibald Henderson #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 12

Folder 13

Noel Houston #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 13

Folder 14

Howard Imbrey #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 14

Folder 15

Eugene Kraemer #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 15

Folder 16

Helmut Kuhn #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 16

Folder 17

Robert Lax #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 17

Folder 18

Clare Leighton #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 18

Folder 19

Robert Luminasky #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 19

Folder 20

Katia Mann #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 20

Folder 21

Milton and Elinor Nahm #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 21

Folder 22

Frederic Prokosch #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 22

Folder 23

Betty Smith #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 23

Folder 24

Nathan C. Starr #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 24

Folder 25

Steven Sykes #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 25

Folder 26

John Vernon #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 26

Folder 27

Roland Von Weber #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 27

Folder 28

Miscellaneous #04270, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1937-1981. " Folder 28

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Writings, 1940-1941, 1972-1980 and undated.

10 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical by author.

Mainly typed copies of writings of correspondents listed in Series 1, probably sent to the Mills for their comments. Subjects include history, art, and biography. folder 29 includes undated writings by Lewis W. Beck and a convocation address delivered by him at the University of Rochester in 1979. folder 30 includes an article (written by Anthony Farrow of Saint Bonaventure University) praising and eulogizing Charles Mills; an autographed article and a review by Helmut Kuhn; an autographed preface by Claire Leighton to Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth; and an autographed essay by Milton Nahm of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.

Folder 29-30

Folder 29

Folder 30

Writings #04270, Series: "2. Writings, 1940-1941, 1972-1980 and undated. " Folder 29-30

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of March 1997 (Acc. 97026)

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