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Erskine Caldwell Letters to Jac L. Tharpe

Identifier: M614

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of three letters written by Erksine Caldwell to Dr. Tharpe. The letters are related to the last piece of work Dr. Tharpe created about Erksine Caldwell.


  • Creation: July 4, 1980, January 14, 1982 and April 29, 1982


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Jac L. Tharpe was born in Maynardville, Tennessee on January 7, 1928 and received his B.A and M.A from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Tharpe would then go on to receive his doctorate from Harvard University in 1965. Before he became faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1970, Dr. Tharpe taught English and American Literature at the University of Alaska from 1964-1965. From 1967-1970, Dr. Tharpe was an English professor and chairman of the Division of Literature and Languages at Hiram Scott College.

While Dr. Tharpe was at the University of Southern Mississippi he taught a diverse range of classes in undergraduate courses in advanced composition, American Literature and special studies in Honors College. Dr. Tharpe’s graduate courses were just as diverse, his courses included courses in American literature, German novel, Russian novel, picaresque novel, literary youth and Honors Colloquia. Some of his works include John Barth: The Comic Sublimity of Paradox, Elvis: Images and Fancies, and Frost: Centennial Essays. Dr. Tharpe also produced works about Walker Percy, Tennessee Williams and Erksine Caldwell. Dr. Tharpe passed away on June 29, 1985. This collection would be of interest to researchers interested in literature and the works of faculty from the University of Southern Mississippi.


1 Folder (Three letters)

Language of Materials



Three letters written by noted author Erskine Caldwell to Dr. Jac Lyndon Tharpe, former professor at The University of Southern Mississippi. The letters are dated July 4, 1980, January 14, 1982, and April 29, 1982. All are typewritten, but signed in longhand by Mr. Caldwell. The topics of the letters are Tharpe's interest in Caldwell's work and an interview with Mr. Caldwell conducted by Dr. Tharpe in 1971. The interview is cataloged as Volume 13 of the USM Oral History Program. A portion of the interview was published in Southern Quarterly, Fall 1981, page 64.

Dr. Jac Tharpe was a professor of English at USM from approximately 1971-1985. During his tenure, he wrote books about Walker Percy, Tennessee Williams, Robert Frost, John Barth, and Elvis Presley. Dr. Tharpe died on June 29, 1985, at the age of 57.


The letters are arranged in chronological order.


Transferred from Mississippiana, August 10, 2005.

Related Materials

Related materials found at the University of Southern Mississippi:

• M171 Dr. Charles Moorman Papers

• M523 David C. Berry, Jr. Papers

• M536 Dr. John Calvin Berry Papers

• DG0851 George C. Sanderlin Papers

Elvis: Images and Fancies, edited by Jac Tharpe, 1979. Available in Cook, McCain, and Gulf Coast Libraries, call number ML420 .E48x

See: External Documents link at bottom of page for Oral History.


• Case File

• Contents from the collection

Erskine Caldwell Letters to Jac L. Tharpe
Collection processed and finding aid written by Amanda Abulawi
March 26, 2020
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001