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Annie Dillard papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 422

Scope and Contents

The Annie Dillard Papers document the work and life of writer Annie Dillard. The papers consist of personal and professional correspondence, drafts of writings, notebooks and diaries, teaching materials, drawings, photographs, printed materials, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and personal papers, spanning the years 1951-2019. The bulk of the collection consists of Dillard's writing drafts and correspondence. Writings shed light on her creative process and include handwritten and typescript drafts and printed versions of writings, including her books An American Childhood, The Living and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Correspondence includes letters from friends, colleagues and readers regarding her writings, both in the publishing process and after publication.


  • 1951 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 52-53 are restricted.

Boxes 48, 73, and 102 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 19, 54, 74, 78, 103 and 104 (born digital): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Original computer disks are restricted. Copies of electronic files disks #1 (Uncat MSS 44) and #1-3 (Uncat ZA MS 90) are available through Access Services. System requirements include CD/DVD drive and file viewing software.

Conditions Governing Use

The Annie Dillard 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

Gift of Annie Dillard, 1986, 1987, 1989, 2016, 2020. Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. on the Eugene G. O'Neill Memorial Fund, 2000; on the Elizabeth Wakeman Dwight Memorial Fund, 2004 and 2011. Purchased from Annie Dillard on the Danford N. Barney, Jr. Fund, 2013; on the George B. Alvord Fund, 2014. Purchased from Joanna Kafarowski on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2017.


Organized into thirteen groupings: I. April 1986 Acquisition, 1965-1984. II. August 1987 Acquisition, undated. III. February 1989 Acquisition, 1983-1987. IV. May 2000 Acquisition, 1955-2000. V. May 2000 Acquisition, 1999-2000. VI. August 2004 Acquisition, 1991-1992. VII. January 2011 Acquisition, 1960s-2010. VIII. May 2013 Acquisition, 1987-2012. IX. January 2014 Acquisition, 2003 - 2013 X. March 2016 Acquisition, 1951 - 2016. XI. June 2017 Acquisition, 1981 - 1999. XII. March 2018 Acquisition, circa 2016. XIII. June 2020 Acquisition, 2011 - 2019.


63.42 Linear Feet (109 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Annie Dillard Papers document the work and life of writer Annie Dillard. The papers consist of personal and professional correspondence, drafts of writings, notebooks and diaries, teaching materials, drawings, photographs, printed materials, audiovisual materials, computer disks, personal effects, and personal papers. The bulk of the collection consists of Dillard's writings and correspondence.

Annie Dillard, 1945-

Annie Dillard is an American author who has published works of poetry, essays, prose, and literary criticism, as well as two novels and one memoir. Dillard was born Meta Ann Doak on April 30, 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended Hollins College near Roanoke, Virginia, and studied creative writing and religion. In her sophomore year, she married her creative writing professor, Richard Dillard, who had a strong influence on her writing. Dillard finished her undergraduate degree in English literature and completed a Masters in Fine Arts from Hollins, in 1968.

After graduate school, Dillard spent her time writing poetry and short stories, some of which she published, and painting and drawing. Interested in the region around her suburban home, filled with forests, mountains, creek, and animals, she wrote about her experiences and observations of area in journals that would become her first book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Published in 1974, the book won Dillard the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 at the age of 29. Dillard divorced her first husband and she moved to Washington state for the position of writer in residence at Western Washington University. She married professor Gary Clevidence and had a daughter. Dillard published Holy the Firm, the memoir An American Chilhood, and two novels, The Living and The Maytrees. She was a professor in the department of English at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and now lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina and Wythe County, Virginia with her third husband, professor and writer Robert Richardson. On September 10, 2015, Dillard was awarded a National Humanities Medal.

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 preliminary processing at the time of acquisition in 1986, 1987, 1989, 2000 and 2004. Further organization, rehousing and/or description was carried out in 2010 and 2020. The collection is comprised of material formerly classed as Uncat ZA MS 14, Uncat MS 83, Uncat MS 90, Uncat MSS 44, Uncat MSS 64, and Uncat MSS 695. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below, according to month and year of acquisition.

Information included in the 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 and subsequent processing.

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 Annie Dillard Papers
by Jessica Tai and Beinecke staff
2007, 2020
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.