Guide to the Eva Rutland Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Rutland, Eva
Title: Eva Rutland papers
Dates: 1949-1979 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1.5 linear feet (3 containers)
Collection Number: Coll 063
Summary: Eva Elsie Rutland (1917- ) is a writer of books and short stories primarily relating to the African American experience and race relations in America. The collection includes correspondence, literary manuscripts and miscellaneous records that reflect her writing career.
Repository: University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
Contact Information: UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

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.

Content Description

The Eva Rutland Papers consist largely of correspondence and manuscripts, both published and unpublished, combining material received from Mrs.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.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

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 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 Oregon assumes no responsibility.

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.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Collection is organized into the following series:

  • Biographical Information
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts: Book Length
  • Manuscripts: Play
  • Manuscripts: Short Works
  • Manuscripts: Poetry

Acquisition Information :  

Gift of Eva Rutland in 1970.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by Molly Taylor.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series:  Biographical Information
1 1 Biographical statement

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Series:  Correspondence
1 2 Correspondence 1949-1952
1 3 Correspondence 1954-1960
1 4 Correspondence April 1964-October 1964
1 5 Correspondence November 1964-December 1964
1 6 Correspondence January 1965-May 1965
1 7 Correspondence July 1965-December 1965
1 8 Correspondence 1966
1 9 Correspondence 1967
1 10 Correspondence 1968
1 11 Correspondence January 1969-June 1969
1 12 Correspondence July 1969-December 1969
1 13 Correspondence January 1970-June 1970
1 14 Correspondence July 1970-December 1970
1 15 Correspondence 1971
1 16 Correspondence 1972-1973
1 17 Correspondence 1974-1979

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Series:  Manuscripts: Book Length
2 1 In Defense of Uncle Tom: Chapters 1, 2, 4
2 2 In Defense of Uncle Tom: Chapters 5, 7
2 3 In Defense of Uncle Tom: Chapters 8, 10
2 4 In Defense of Uncle Tom: Additional chapters, not numbered
2 5 In Defense of Uncle Tom: Notes, drafts, contract with Abingdon
2 6 Our World: Kenya: Chapters 1, 4-6
2 7 The Trouble With Being a Mama: Chapters 1-4
2 8 The Trouble With Being a Mama: Chapters 5-8
2 9 The Trouble With Being a Mama: Chapters 9-10; 1 draft page

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Series:  Manuscripts: Play
1 10 Pride Prejudice and Pollution: Act I
1 11 Pride Prejudice and Pollution: Act II, III; note

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Series:  Manuscripts: Short Works
2 12 Amicus Curiae
2 12 And a Child Shall Lead Them
2 12 As a Man Thinketh
2 12 Going Blind I Can See More Clearly
2 12 If I Were in Charge
3 1 Madge and the Lemon Cream Pie
3 2 Morning the Swings Were Empty
3 2 My Neighbor, Mr. Muggins
3 2 Sex and Mr. Pumpernickel
3 3 Such a Big Day for Such a Little Girl
3 4 Suffer the Children
3 4 Thanksgiving Must Be Perfect
3 4 The Trouble with Being an Uncle Tom
3 5 The Trouble with Being Black and Middle Class
3 5 Who Can I Hate?
3 6 With Love from the Five and Ten

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Series:  Manuscripts: Poetry
3 7 Careerless Lady (with M.E. Barr and E. Payne)
3 7 From Mama to Teacher (with M.E. Barr)
3 7 Lullaby for Mommy (by Madeline Barr)
3 7 Untitled
3 8 Miscellaneous pages
3 9 Reviews
3 10 Memorabilia

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  • Personal Names :
  • Crosby, Kathryn, 1933-
  • Rutland, Eva--Correspondence
  • Subject Terms :
  • African American authors--20th century
  • African Americans in literature
  • American literature--African American authors
  • American literature--Authorship
  • Race relations in literature
  • Women authors, American--20th century

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