James Agee Papers
This collection contains eighteen letters, photographs, and writings from James Agee and family. There are three series: Writing, 1930-1943, which includes papers for his college English classes in 1930, a 1937 diary, and two 1943 film review items; Correspondence, 1951-1955, which includes letters between him or his wife Mia and Paul Brooks and letters between W. P Agee, Jr., and Houghton, Mifflin Co., in 1955; and Photographs, undated, which includes three pictures of Agee and friends.
Conditions Governing Access
Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See www.special.lib.utk.edu for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.
Conditions Governing Use
The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on www.special.lib.utk.edu for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.
0.3 Linear Feet
This collection contains eighteen letters (1951-1955), photographs (undated), and writings (1930-1943) crated by James Agee, Paul Brooks, and W. P. Agee, Jr.
James Rufus Agee was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on November 27, 1909 to Hugh James Agee and Laura Whitman Tyler. He had one sister, Emma. Hugh Agee was killed in an automobile accident in 1916. In 1918, Laura relocated the family to Sewanee, Tennessee. James attended the St. Andrew’s School where he met Father James Harold Flye who would become his lifelong close friend and mentor. The Agees returned to Knoxville in 1924, and James attended Knoxville High School for a year, before transferring to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He was accepted into Harvard University’s class of 1932.
Upon graduation, Agee wrote for Fortune magazine from 1932-1937, and published his only volume of poetry, Permit Me Voyage, in 1934. In 1941, Agee turned material for a scrapped Fortune article into his first book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Agee is also credited as a screenwriter on both The African Queen and The Night of the Hunter, both released in 1955. Published posthumously in 1957, A Death in the Family is Agee’s autobiographical novel set in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Agee led a somewhat tumultuous personal life. He was married to Via Saunders from 1933-1938. Later in 1938 he married Alma Mailman, and had a son with her, Joel, before their divorce in 1941. He then married Mia Fritsch in 1946, and they two daughters, Julia and Andrea, and a son, John. Agee died of a heart attack on May 16, 1955. In 1999, the street where Agee was born was renamed to James Agee Street in the Fort Sanders neighborhood of Knoxville.
This collection consists of three folders divided into three series:
- Series I: Writing, 1930-1943
- Series II: Correspondence, 1951-1955
- Series III: Photographs, undated
This collection is the property of Special Collections.