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Roxana Robinson papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 1304

Scope and Contents

The Roxana Robinson Papers consists of writings, correspondence, photographs, personal papers, teaching files, printed materials, computer media, and audiovisual media documenting the life and work of author Roxana Robinson, dated from circa 1960 to 2018. Writings include research files, notes, clippings, drafts, typescripts, correspondence, and interview transcripts related to the publication of Robinson’s biography Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life and her play Georgia O'Keeffe, as well as six novels, and short stories featured in publications such as House and Garden, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Vogue. Materials related to Robinson's research on O'Keeffe include copies of O'Keeffe's correspondence with Alfred Stieglitz and Anita Pollitzer, and Robinson's interview with Juan Hamilton. Correspondence contains over twenty years of correspondence between Robinson and Guislaine Morland, author of The Food of Love, as well as correspondence and subject files pertaining to Robinson’s novels, short stories, and public appearances. Photographs consist of publicity stills of Robinson. Teaching files contain syllabi, course outlines, articles, and notes related to teaching positions Robinson held at institutions including the University of Houston, Wesleyan University, and The New School. Printed materials feature Robinson’s novels, short stories, articles, essays, and reviews of her work by others. Computer and audiovisual media include interviews, drafts, and audio recordings on computer discs, floppy disks, optical media, videocassettes, and audiocassettes.


  • circa 1960-2018


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Box 36 (financial and legal records): Restricted until 2046. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Box 42 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 43 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Roxana Robinson Papers 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

Purchased from Ken Lopez Bookseller on the Sinclair Lewis Fund, 2019.


The collection is organized into seven series: I. Writings, circa 1960-2018 and undated. II. Correspondence, 1978-2010 and undated. III. Photographs, circa 1985-2009 and undated. IV. Teaching Files, 1991-2008. V. Personal Papers, 1965-2009. VI. Printed Materials, 1974-2011. VII. Computer and Audiovisual Media, 1982-2005 and undated.


35.42 Linear Feet (43 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Roxana Robinson papers consists of writings, correspondence and subject files, photographs, personal papers, teaching files, printed materials, computer media, and audiovisual media documenting the life and work of author Roxana Robinson, dated from circa 1960 to 2018.

Roxana Robinson (1946-)

Roxana Robinson is the author of over ten works of fiction and nonfiction, including the biography Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life (1989), widely considered one of the most comprehensive biographies on the artist. The Washington Post selected Robinson’s novel Cost as one of the five best novels of 2008. Cost also received critical acclaim from the Chicago Tribune, Library Journal, The Seattle Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and was longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Prize for Fiction. Additionally, her novel Sparta (2014) won the Maine Fiction award and was named one of the ten best books of the year by the BBC. Robinson has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Education Association, and the MacDowell Colony. She served as president of the Authors Guild from 2013 to 2017. Most recently, Robinson received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award in 2019.

Robinson was born on November 30, 1946 in Pine Mountain, Kentucky, and raised in New Hope, Pennsylvania. She is descended from several notable American families including the Beecher family (Henry Ward Beecher, Lyman Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe), the Trumbull family (Jonathan Trumbull), the Scoville family, and the Gallaudet family (Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, pioneer of American education for the deaf).

Robinson received her B.A. in English Literature at the University of Michigan. Prior to writing fiction, she worked in the art department at Sotheby’s and wrote about late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American art. She has taught at institutions including Wesleyan University, University of Houston, and The New School in New York City. She currently teaches in the MFA program at Hunter College.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing, indicated by brackets.

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

Guide to the Roxana Robinson Papers
by Emily Komornik
April 2021
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.