Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan, 1896-1953

Alternative names
Birth 1896-08-08
Death 1953-12-14

Biographical notes:

Virginia Taylor McCormick (1873-1957), of Norfolk, Virginia was a poet, literary critic, essayist, lecturer, and the editor of The Lyric, 1921-1929.

From the guide to the Virginia Taylor McCormick Papers, 1887-1953., (Special Collections, Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary)

In 1931, Scribner published two of Rawlings' short stories, Jacob's ladder and Cracker chidlins, both describing poor, backcountry Florida. Some of Rawlings' neighbors were angered by what they considered to be unfavorable descriptions of themselves and their community.

From the description of [Letter] 1931 April 8, Cross Creek, Hawthorn, Florida to Walter P. Fuller, Snell Arcade, St. Petersburg, Florida / Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. (University of South Florida). WorldCat record id: 705358234


Born in Washington, D.C. Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1918. Became a journalist. In 1928 left New York to live in Cross Creek, Florida, the setting for many of her novels and short stories. Divorced her husband Charles Rawlings and later married Norton Baskin, a bussiness man. Her novel The Yearling won a Pulitzer Prize in 1939.

From the description of Papers, 1844-2002 (bulk: 1916-1953) (University of Florida). WorldCat record id: 19557480

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was a Pulitzer-winning author who lived in rural Cross Creek, Florida, and wrote novels and stories focusing on rural themes and settings, including The Yearling and Cross Creek .

Marjorie Kinnan was born on August 8, 1896 in Washington D.C. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1918 and became a journalist. In 1919 she married her first husband, Charles Rawlings, and the two lived in New York for several years. In 1928 they left New York and bought an orange grove in Cross Creek, Florida. That same year, her first stories about rural Florida were published: "Cracker Chidlings" and "Jacob's Ladder." This began a long relationship with her editor, Maxwell Perkins of Scribner's.

She and Charles Rawlings divorced in 1933, and Marjorie remained at Cross Creek, concentrating on her writing. Her first novel, South Moon Under, about a family of Florida moonshiners, was published in 1933. Her second novel, Golden Apples, was published in 1935. Her best known work, The Yearling, about a boy who cares for an orphaned fawn, won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939 and was later adapted as a film of the same title (1946). In 1941, she married her second husband, Norton Baskin, a Florida businessman and owner of the Castle Warden Hotel in St. Augustine.

In 1942 Rawlings published Cross Creek, her autobiographical account of life in rural Florida. The book featured many of her neighbors and friends, including her longtime maid, Idella Parker, her friend Zelma Cason, her tenants the Mickens family, and her nearby neighbors the Bass and Glisson families. That same year she also published Cross Creek Cookery, sharing her passion for cooking. In 1943, Rawlings was surprised when Zelma Cason sued her for libel for the manner in which the author had portrayed Cason in Cross Creek . Although Rawlings won the initial case, the trial went to appeal and she was ordered to pay Cason $1 in damages. The case proved to be a great distraction, and it greatly soured Rawlings towards Cross Creek.

For almost seven years, from 1947 until her death in 1953, Rawlings spent part of each year in Van Hornesville, New York, working on her final novel, The Sojourner (1953). When in Florida, she spent most of her time at the Crescent Beach home she and Baskin called "The Cottage." She died on December 14, 1953.

For a bibliography of her works see Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: a Descriptive Bibliography by Rodger L. Tarr (1996).

From the guide to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Papers, 1844-2002, 1916-1953, (Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida)


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  • Novelists, American--Correspondence
  • Home--Poetry
  • Authors, American
  • Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Pulitzer Prizes
  • Novelists, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Poets, American--20th century
  • Women authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Housewives--Poetry


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