Eva Elsie Rutland (née Neal) was born January 15, 1917 in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her B.A. in Economics from Spelman College (Atlanta) in 1937. She has lived in Alabama, Washington, D.C., Ohio, and Germany. She now lives in Sacramento, California. She is married and has four children.
Mrs. Rutland had already written several short stories and articles (three of which were published in the 1950's) when her book, The Trouble With Being a Mama, was published in 1964 by Abingdon Press. The book is about the troubles and joys of being a wife and mother of four in a middle-class black family. The book was well-received and popular at its release, but is no longer in print.
Mrs. Rutland has written material for several other books. One, entitled In Defense of Uncle Tom, was contracted by Abingdon in 1968. Despite months of work, however, the book was never published. At least one of her short stories, "Sex and Mr. Pumpernickel," has been published abroad. In 1978, her play, Pride, Prejudice and Pollution, with music and lyrics by Mel Lawson, was produced in Sacramento.
Although her eyesight, which began troubling her in 1970, has now failed her, she continues to write.
The Eva Rutland Papers consist largely of correspondence and manuscripts, both published and unpublished, combining material received from Mrs. Rutland in 1970 and 1980.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically and includes both business and personal correspondence from 1949 to 1979. The bulk of the business correspondence is between Mrs. Rutland and Lenniger Literary Agency, where she was a client, and Abingdon Press, which published The Trouble With Being a Mama. The business correspondence, in particular the years 1964-1965 and 1969-1970, traces the development and ultimate failure of In Defense of Uncle Tom. The history of Mrs. Rutland's vision problem is revealed through her correspondence with Lenniger Literary Agency, beginning with a letter dated June 24, 1970. Mrs. Rutland's personal correspondence sometimes provides a contemporary perspective of race relations and the civil rights movement. A noted personal correspondent is Kathryn Crosby; the Papers include letters from her in 1972, 1973, and 1976.
The manuscripts are divided into book length, plays, short works, and poetry. Works within these sections are arranged alphabetically by title. Rough drafts are filed with the final version. The manuscripts series contains three of five known published works. These are: "The Morning the Swings Were Empty," "Sex and Mr. Pumpernickel," and The Trouble With Being a Mama. As with the personal correspondence, most of the manuscripts record how race relations in the 1950's and 1960's affected everyday life. Of unpublished works included in the Papers, the most notable is In Defense of Uncle Tom. Mrs. Rutland's published works which are not included are: "Taught to Hate" ( Ladies Home Journal, June, 1952) and "Elsie and God" ( Redbook, June, 1952).
Aside from a photocopy of a newspaper article about the play Pride Prejudice and Pollution, all of the reviews are for The Trouble With Being a Mama. Following the reviews is a folder of memorabilia, consisting mostly of publicity for Pride Prejudice and Pollution.
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Collection is open to the public.
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If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.Preferred Citation :
[Identification of item], Eva Rutland Papers, Coll 063, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.
Collection is organized into the following series:
Detailed Description of the Collection