Alice Adams, come on down! The canon awaits

“With 36 million manuscripts and a million rare books, the Harry Ransom Center, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, is a standout in the exclusive club of the world’s great museum-quality collections….

“The Ransom Center is on a buying binge, but not with the long-dead titans of literature in mind. Instead, the library is pursuing the private papers of contemporary authors [and] is out to play a role in literary-canon formation….

Alice Adams, the [Chapel Hill-reared] novelist and short-story writer, was a major acquisition in 2000 and now seems to be the subject of a subtle awareness campaign…. En route to the [David Foster] Wallace archive, one staffer pointed out the 27 boxes comprising the Adams collection. Later, another employee, while showing me [Don] DeLillo’s letters, offhandedly mentioned her love for Adams’s stories. ‘She really should be better-known,’ the woman said, looking up at me hopefully.”

— From “Canon Fodder” by Anne Trubek in The Atlantic


2 thoughts on “Alice Adams, come on down! The canon awaits”

  1. A portion of Alice Adams’ ashes are buried in the Chapel Hill Village Cemetery plot alongside of her long-time friend Max Steele, former head of the Creative Writing Program at UNC.

  2. The North Carolina Collection contains papers from Alice Adams’s mother, who was a librarian at the Wilson Library and author of several monographs published by UNC. I’d like to hear from anyone in Chapel Hill who has memories of Alice Adams (or recollections passed along from her parents’ generation) because I am writing a biography of Alice Adams:

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