Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963

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American author.

From the description of Evelyn Scott Collection, 1894-1952. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122590438

Evelyn Scott was a writer from Clarksville, Tennessee.

From the description of Letter, circa 1937, New York, to Mr. Nortewall. (University of Tennessee). WorldCat record id: 45253557

Evelyn Scott was born in Clarksville, Tennessee, on January 17, 1893, as Elsie Dunn, the only child of Maude Thomas and Seely Dunn. Maude Thomas, Elsie's mother, was from a respected and prosperous southern family of Clarksville. Seely Dunn, Elsie's father, though born and raised in New Orleans, had Yankee parents and a more northern outlook. By the time Elsie was fourteen, Seely had made some unwise investments and the family moved to New Orleans to be near the financial support of his parents. As she was growing up Elsie struggled with reconciling the social class her mother's family represented with the life they actually lived. The transition which Tennessee was undergoing toward social and economic progress, and the pull of opposing forces in her mother's and father's outlook, combined with the ever present shadow of the Civil War, was to have a significant effect on Evelyn's development as a thinker and writer. As an only child Elsie felt lonely and misunderstood. She attended the Sophie Newcombe Preparatory School and became the youngest girl student to enroll at Tulane University. By the age of twenty she had become discouraged by her inability to make a real difference in society.

It was at this time, in 1913, that Elsie met Frederick Creighton Wellman. Wellman, twenty years her senior and married to a concert pianist, had four children by a previous marriage which ended in divorce, and was now dean at Tulane University's School of Tropical Medicine. He and Elsie shared many intellectual interests and he eventually asked her to accompany him to Brazil where he planned to collect insect specimens. They left secretly in December 1913 and by a circuitous route arrived at their destination in February 1914. It was at the beginning of this trip that both Elsie and Wellman changed their names to Scott to protect their identity, with Elsie becaming Evelyn Scott and Wellman changing his to Cyril Kay Scott. She had become pregnant with her only child, Creighton Scott, before they landed. Evelyn later wrote about their poverty and hardships in Brazil in her autobiography, Escapade, published in 1923. They remained in Brazil for six years.

When they returned to the United States the Scotts lived in New York City's Greenwich Village where Evelyn quickly embraced the Bohemian life style, as well as various lovers such as Waldo Frank and William Carlos Williams. Evelyn had submitted a few poems for publication while in Brazil and soon was at work producing a volume of poems entitled Precipitations, published in 1920, followed the next year by her first novel, The Narrow House. Both publications received mixed reviews. They were followed by Narcissus (1922) and The Golden Door (1925), which completed her first trilogy using the theme of the loveless conventional marriage.

The year 1927 also saw the publication of the first volume of her historical trilogy, Migrations, which used for its backdrop America's westward expansion. The Civil War was the background for The Wave (1929), and industrial expansion for A Calendar of Sin, (1931). The Wave is considered Evelyn's greatest critical and commercial success. In Eva Gay, an autobiographical novel published in 1933, Evelyn wrote about her youth and her involvement with Cyril Kay Scott and the artist Owen Merton before her connection with and subsequent marriage to British novelist, Jack Metcalf. Reviewers continued to maintain Evelyn's significance as an important modern writer. The year 1937 saw the publication of both another autobiography, Background in Tennessee, in which Evelyn discussed the significant effect of her Clarksville upbring on the fundamental formation of her character, and her novel, Bread and a Sword, begun fifteen years earlier, contrasting economic necessity and artistic integrity in artistic expression.

In addition to her novels and poetry, Evelyn produced four children's books, a play, numerous short stories, essays, and reviews. She wrote two additional novels, “Escape into Living,” reflections of a middle aged woman on her life, and “Before Cock Crow,” a work about the French Revolution, both of which remain unpublished. Though she lived for an additional 22 years Evelyn was unable to publish her work after 1941, due in part to its controversial nature and her refusal to accept her publishers' suggestions for changes, as well as to her growing paranoia about conspiracies directed against her. Additionally, each of her novels had a unique style which the general public found difficult to read or understand.

Late in 1925 Evelyn began a relationship with John Metcalf that was to last until her death. In March of 1928 Cyril Scott decided to formally end his common law marriage with Evelyn and obtained a divorce in Juarez, Mexico. Although John and Evelyn claimed to be married as early as 1925, they went through a legal ceremony in 1930. During World War II, when John was drafted into the RAF to train pilots, Evelyn joined him in England in 1944, and was not to return to the U.S. until 1953 when a fund, organized by Margaret DeSilver in the U.S., was set up for that purpose. Scott had found it difficult to interest publishers in her work at such a distance and, along with her growing mental instability, poverty and illness took its toll. She suffered from heart trouble and lung cancer and passed away on August 3, 1963.

From the guide to the Evelyn Scott Collection TXRC98-A5., 1894-1952, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Charles Allan Madison Papers, 1918-1935 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf Suckow, Ruth, 1892-1960. Papers of Ruth Suckow, 1887-1988. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf OAC Review Index. Macdonald : examination results ; Senior Associates, OAC Review, v.43, no.8, Apr.1931, p.466-467. University of Guelph
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Letter, circa 1937, New York, to Mr. Nortewall. University of Tennessee, John C. Hodges Library
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1921-1939. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Witter Bynner papers, 1829-1965. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951,. Letters to Alfred Kreymborg [manuscript], 1921-1956. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Letter, circa 1937, New York, to Mr. Nortewall. University of Tennessee, John C. Hodges Library
referencedIn Joseph Ishill papers, 1888-1966. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Morgan, Louise. Louise Morgan and Otto Theis papers 1903-1983 (bulk 1930-1960). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, [Between 1920 and 1944]. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf OAC Review Index. Macdonald examination results : Junior Normals, OAC Review, v.42, no.10, June 1930, p.602. University of Guelph
creatorOf Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968. Witter Bynner papers, 1829-1965. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Louise Morgan and Otto Theis papers, 1903-1983 (inclusive, 1930-1960 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Madison, Charles Allan. Papers, 1918-1985. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn E. E. Cummings papers, 1870-1969. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Granville Hicks Papers, 1906-1980 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Metcalfe, John, 1891-. Papers, 1846-1965 (bulk 1945-1962). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn John Metcalfe Papers TXRC92-A1., 1846-1965 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Smith, Lillian Eugenia, 1897-1966. Papers, 1915-1972, bulk 1935-1966. University of Florida
creatorOf OAC Review Index. MacDonald, OAC Review, v.28, no. 3. Nov. 1915, p.102-105. University of Guelph
creatorOf OAC Review Index. College life : Le Club Francais, OAC Review, v.36, no.4, Dec. 1923, p.129-130. University of Guelph
creatorOf Ridge, Lola, 1883-1941. Letter to Mr. Small, New York, January 31, 1931 / Lola Ridge. University of Wisconsin - Madison, General Library System
referencedIn Kilmer, Kenton, 1909-. Papers of Kenton Kilmer [manuscript] 1930-1965. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Amy Lowell correspondence, 1883-1927 (inclusive), 1910-1925 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Evelyn Scott Collection TXRC98-A5., 1894-1952 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Gregory, Horace, 1898-1982. Letter of Horace Gregory, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to Lawrence Drake [manuscript] 1931 July 13. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Laddon, Esther Machlin. Papers, 1920-1939 (inclusive), 1927-1939 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn William B. Wisdom collection of Thomas Wolfe, 1909-1959. Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Ridge, Lola, 1883-1941. Letters to Llewellyn Jones, 1918-1930. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Marshall, Lenore, 1897-1971. Papers, 1887-1980. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Turlington, Henry E., b. 1945,. The Henry E. Turlington Collection of Cyril Kay-Scott and Evelyn Scott Materials, 1881-1987, (bulk 1920-1957, 1983-1985). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Letters of Evelyn Scott [manuscript] 1929-36. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf OAC Review Index. College life : the French Club present, OAC Review, v.35, no.8, Apr. 1923, p.332. University of Guelph
referencedIn Papers, 1931-1940, 1982 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Evelyn Scott Collection, 1894-1952. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Letter to Lewis Stiles Gannett, 1932 Dec. 20. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Henderson, Alice Corbin, 1881-1949. Papers, 1861-1987 (bulk 1920-1949). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Alice Corbin Henderson Collection TXRC92-A24., 1861-1987 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Adams, Elbridge L., 1866-. Collection of books from the library of William Faulkner. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn The Henry E. Turlington Collection of Cyril Kay-Scott and Evelyn Scott Materials TXRC97-A6., 1881-1987, (bulk 1920-1957, 1983-1985) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. 3 ALS, 1936 Feb. 20, [n.y.] Jan. 17, and [n.d.], Jove Cottage, Walberswick, Suffolk [Eng.] and c/o Scott, 359 West 22nd st., [New York City], to Muriel Rukeyser. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Lumpkin, Grace, 1892?-1980. Grace Lumpkin papers, 1919-1977. University of South Carolina, University Libraries
referencedIn Horace Gregory Papers, 1920-1973 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Papers, 1920-1939 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Letter to Hal Horace Smith regarding William Faulkner's The sound and the fury [manuscript] 1929 May 10. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Scott, Evelyn, 1893-1963. Letter, 1929, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Lewis Gannett papers, 1681-1966 (inclusive) 1900-1960 (bulk). Houghton Library, , Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Hawkins, Arthur. Papers of Arthur Hawkins [manuscript], 1929-1970. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Goldman, Emma, 1869-1940. Papers of Leon Malmed and Emma Goldman, 1899-1982 (inclusive), 1899-1940 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Mendelsohn, Lillian Marie Flaherty, 1906-1981. Papers of Lillian and William Mendelsohn, 1931-1982 (inclusive), 1931-1940 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951 person
associatedWith Ames, Elizabeth, d. 1977 person
associatedWith Anderson, Sherwood, 1876-1941 person
associatedWith Benét, William Rose, 1886-1950 person
associatedWith Bogan, Louise, 1897-1970 person
associatedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902- person
associatedWith Brooks, Van Wyck, 1886-1963 person
associatedWith Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968 person
associatedWith Cather, Willa, 1873-1947 person
associatedWith Cerf, Bennett, 1898-1971 person
associatedWith Contempo corporateBody
associatedWith Coppard, A. E. (Alfred Edgar), 1878-1957 person
correspondedWith Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1962 person
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952 person
associatedWith Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970 person
associatedWith Drake, Lawrence, person
associatedWith Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945 person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955 person
associatedWith Endore, S. Guy, 1901-1970 person
associatedWith Esther Machlin Laddon person
associatedWith Fadiman, Clifton, 1904- person
associatedWith Faulkner, William, 1897-1962 person
associatedWith Fletcher, John Gould, 1886-1950 person
associatedWith Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1940 person
associatedWith Frank, Waldo David, 1889-1967. person
associatedWith Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966, person
associatedWith Garland, Marie Tudor, 1870- . person
associatedWith Goldman, Emma, 1869-1940. person
associatedWith Gregory, Alyse, 1884-1967 person
associatedWith Gregory, Horace, 1898-1982. person
associatedWith Hale, Swinburne person
associatedWith Hale, Swinburne. person
associatedWith Hawkins, Arthur. person
associatedWith Henderson, Alice Corbin, 1881-1949 person
associatedWith Hicks, Granville, 1901-1982 person
associatedWith Hillyer, Robert, 1895-1961 person
associatedWith Hoult, Norah, 1901-1984 person
associatedWith Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963 person
correspondedWith Ishill, Joseph. person
associatedWith Joyce, James, 1882-1941 person
associatedWith Kilmer, Kenton, 1909- person
associatedWith Laddon, Esther Machlin. person
associatedWith Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930 person
associatedWith Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951 person
associatedWith LILLIAN MARIE (FLAHERTY) MENDELSOHN, 1906-1981 person
associatedWith Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925 person
associatedWith Lumpkin, Grace, 1892? -1980 person
associatedWith Lyons, Eugene, 1898- person
associatedWith Madison, Charles Allan person
associatedWith Madison, Charles Allan. person
associatedWith Mann, Thomas, 1875-1955 person
associatedWith March, William, 1893-1954 person
associatedWith Marshall, Lenore, 1897-1971. person
associatedWith Mendelsohn, Lillian Marie Flaherty, 1906-1981. person
associatedWith Merton, Owen person
associatedWith Merton, Owen. person
associatedWith Metcalfe, John, 1891- person
associatedWith Monroe, Harriet, 1860-1936 person
associatedWith Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972 person
associatedWith Morgan, Louise. person
associatedWith Nelles, Walter, 1883-1937 person
associatedWith Nichols, Dudley, 1895- person
associatedWith Norman, Dorothy, 1905- person
associatedWith Norman, Dorothy, 1905-1997. person
associatedWith OAC Review Index. corporateBody
associatedWith OAC Review Index. corporateBody
associatedWith OAC Review Index. corporateBody
associatedWith OAC Review Index. corporateBody
associatedWith OAC Review Index. corporateBody
associatedWith Ogden, C. K. (Charles Kay), 1889-1957 person
associatedWith O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986 person
associatedWith Parrish, Anne, 1888- person
associatedWith Parrish, Anne, 1888-1957. person
associatedWith Perkins, Maxwell E. (Maxwell Evarts), 1884-1947 person
associatedWith Peterkin, Julia Mood, 1880-1961 person
associatedWith Peters (A.D.) Agency corporateBody
associatedWith Peters (A.D.) Agency. corporateBody
associatedWith Random House (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith Read, Herbert Edward, Sir, 1893-1968 person
associatedWith Rhys, Jean person
associatedWith Rhys, Jean. person
associatedWith Rice, Elmer, 1892-1967 person
associatedWith Ridge, Lola, 1883-1941 person
associatedWith Romains, Jules, 1885-1972 person
associatedWith Rukeyser, Muriel, 1913-1980, person
associatedWith Russell, Bertrand, 1872-1970 person
associatedWith Sadleir, Michael Ernest, 1861-1943. person
associatedWith Salpeter, Harry, 1895- person
associatedWith Sandleir, Michael Ernest, 1861-1943 person
associatedWith Scott, Creighton. person
associatedWith Scott, Evelyn, 1893- person
associatedWith Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968 person
associatedWith Smith, Hal H. (Hal Horace), 1873-1944, person
associatedWith Smith, Lillian Eugenia, 1897-1966 person
associatedWith Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946. person
associatedWith Stieglitz, Alfred, 1865-1946 person
associatedWith Strand, Paul, 1890-1976 person
associatedWith Suckow, Ruth, 1892-1960 person
associatedWith Swinnerton, Frank, 1884- person
associatedWith Turlington, Henry person
associatedWith Turlington, Henry E., b. 1945, person
associatedWith Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950 person
associatedWith Van Loon, Hendrik Willem, 1882-1944 person
associatedWith Weaver, Harriet Shaw person
associatedWith Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975 person
associatedWith Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963 person
correspondedWith Wisdom, William B., 1900-1977 person
associatedWith Zabel, Morton Dauwen, 1901-1964 person
associatedWith Zaturenska, Marya, 1902- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Women novelists, American--20th century
Novelists, American--20th century
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1893-01-17

Death 1963-08-03

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 43053464