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Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr. Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-3800

The Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr. Papers contain personal and family related material, correspondence, research material, manuscripts, and visual media pertaining to the life and works of author and historian Wilma Dykeman and her husband, poet James R. Stokely Jr. The collection spans 1807-2011 with the bulk of the material dating between 1934 and 2007.

Series I: Wilma Dykeman Stokely Personal Material includes papers from Wilma Dykeman Stokely’s personal life apart from her writing career.

Series II: Wilma Dykeman Stokely Professional Material includes materials related to Wilma Dykeman Stokely’s professional career as an author, public speaker, educator and historian.

Series III: Wilma Dykeman Stokely Obituaries and Memorial Material concerns the last few years of Wilma Dykeman Stokely’s life after she retired from writing and public speaking.

Series IV: James R. Stokely Jr. Material collects the personal and professional papers of James R. Stokely Jr. The material documents his writing career and his involvement in social justice, environmental conservation, and cultural heritage preservation related organizations. The series also holds materials related to his management of two orchards in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Series V: Dykeman and Stokely Family Ancestry includes genealogy research, family correspondence, and business papers related to the Dykeman and Stokely families.

Series VI: Correspondence contains Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr.’s personal, financial, and professional correspondence from immediate and extended family, friends, acquaintances, and business associates.

Series VII: Research contains research notes and notebooks, newspaper and magazine clippings, publications, newsletters, and correspondence related to Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr.’s books and articles.

Series VIII: Manuscript Material illustrates Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr.’s writing careers, with the bulk of the material highlighting Wilma’s first twenty years of book writing.

Series IX: Media Material contains scrapbooks collecting correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, early writings, postcards, and promotional material describing Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr.’s professional and personal lives. It also includes loose blank postcards collected from different regions in the United States and abroad.

Series X: Oversize Material includes personal and professional papers; family genealogy papers, scrapbooks and photographs; business related papers; and manuscript material.

Series XI: Restricted Material contains correspondence and other papers restricted from public access at this time.

Dates

  • 1807-2011, undated
  • Majority of material found within 1934 - 2007

Language

The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Manuscript and University Archives collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 24 hours is needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

97.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr. Papers contain personal and family related material, correspondence, research material, manuscripts, and visual media pertaining to the life and works of author and historian Wilma Dykeman and her husband, poet James R. Stokely Jr. The collection spans 1807-2011 with the bulk of the material dating between 1934 and 2007.

Biographical/Historical Note

Wilma Dykeman (1920-2006) was a fiction and nonfiction writer whose works primarily focused on the people and land of Appalachia. An Asheville, N.C. native, she graduated from Biltmore Junior College in 1938 (now the University of North Carolina, Asheville) and then earned a bachelor's degree in speech from Northwestern University in 1940. That same year she married James R. Stokely Jr. The couple had two sons, Dykeman C. Stokely and James R. Stokely III. Throughout her life, Wilma Dykeman has been credited as an author, speaker, historian, teacher, and environmentalist. She taught at Berea College and at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the latter for more than 20 years.

The 1955 book The French Broad started Wilma Dykeman's career as an author and historian. In 1981, the state of Tennessee designated her as the honorary state historian until her death in 2006. She wrote several novels, including The Tall Woman (1962), The Far Family (1966) and Return the Innocent Earth (1973). During her extensive writing career, she authored or co-authored 20 books and five decades' worth of news columns and articles. She maintained homes in both Newport, Tenn. and Asheville.

James R. Stokely Jr. (1913-1977) was born in Newport, Tenn. as the second son to the co-founder and first general manager of Stokely Brothers Canning Company, now Stokely Van Camp. He attended both Princeton University and the University of Tennessee, the latter where he earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce. He wrote poetry, editorials, and news articles focusing on his passions for Southern Appalachian history and culture, environmental conservation, and social justice. He collaborated with his wife, Wilma Dykeman, on books about civil rights and the South, including the award winning Neither Black Nor White (1957) and Seeds of Southern Change: The Life of Will Alexander (1962). In addition, he owned and managed apple orchards in Newport, Tenn. (1940-53) and in Asheville, N.C. (1944-53).

Arrangement

The collection consists of 128 boxes and is arranged in the following series:

  1. Wilma Dykeman Stokely Personal Material, 1920 May 20-2013 Spring
  2. Wilma Dykeman Stokely Professional Material, 1901-2011 November 27
  3. Wilma Dykeman Stokely Obituaries and Memorial Material, circa 1985-2009
  4. James R. Stokely Jr. Material, 1919-1999 September, undated
  5. Dykeman and Stokely Family Ancestry, 1847 March 20-2002 September 2, undated
  6. Correspondence, 1908-2006, undated
  7. Research, 1914, 1920-1996, undated [bulk 1953-1974]
  8. Manuscript Material, 1936 July 31-2011 November 20, undated
  9. Media Material, 1890-1998, undated [bulk 1958-1973]
  10. Oversize Material, 1807 May 1-2007 November 30, undated
  11. Restricted Material, undated

Acquisition Note

Special Collections acquired this collection from Jim Stokely in 2015.

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may wish to consult:

  1. MS.2516 Wilma Dykeman Papers Concerning The Far Family
  2. MS.3754 Wilma Dykeman Papers Concerning Explorations
  3. MS.3778 Wilma Dykeman Papers Concerning Highland Homeland

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480