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Ann Petry manuscripts

Call Number: JWJ MSS 206

Scope and Contents

The Ann Petry Manuscripts contains the writings of American author Ann Petry. Writings consist of drafts of Petry’s novels Country Place (1947) and The Street (1946), some with extensive revisions. Some draft pages were written on the back of Negro Women, Incorporated, newsletters and governance documents. Also included are drafts of Petry's review of Margaret Halsey’s Color Blind: A White Woman Looks at the Negro (1946). Correspondence consists of a carbon copy of Petry’s 1944 submission to the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Contest.


  • circa 1944-1947


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

This collection may be housed off-site at Yale's Library Shelving Facility (LSF). To determine if all or part of this collection is housed off-site please check the library's online catalog, Orbis; material for which the location is given as "LSF" must be requested 36 hours in advance. Please consult with Beinecke Access Services for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Ann Petry Manuscripts is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Frances K. Reckling, 1947, and Ann Petry, 1948.


Organized into one series: I. Writings, circa 1944-1947

Related Materials

Additional material by and about Ann Petry can be found in the Ann Petry collection at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University.


3.25 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

Ann Lane Petry, born 12 October 1908 in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, was the daughter of Peter Clark Lane and Bertha James Lane. She graduated from Connecticut College of Pharmacy in 1931 and worked in her family’s business for several years. She married George Petry in 1936, and in 1938 they moved to Harlem, where she was actively engaged in literature, theatre, and politics. She wrote a weekly column for The People’s Voice, attended Mabel Louise Robinson’s creative writing workshop at Columbia University, and co-founded Negro Women, Incorporated, which was a consumer watch group that fought for the rights of African-American women and organized them for participation in the war effort. In 1945 she won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award, which funded the writing of The Street. In 1947 she and her husband moved back to Old Saybrook. Ann Petry authored short stories, novels, book reviews, and books for young readers. Her published works include The Street (1946), Country Place (1947), and The Narrows (1953). Ann Petry died on April 28, 1997, in Old Saybrook.

Sources: Farah Jasmine Griffin. Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II. New York : Basic Civitas, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, 2013. "Harlem." Story of the Week. Library of America, 2019.

Processing Information

The Ann Petry Manuscripts contains material acquired by the library through gift from Frances K. Reckling, 1947, and Ann Petry, 1948.

Former call numbers: JWJ MSS Petry and Za Petry.

Guide to the Ann Petry Manuscripts
Gabriela G. Redwine
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.