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(Mss. 4411)

Contents of Inventory


Biographical/ Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Series Descriptions

Index Terms


Size.                   12 linear feet.

Geographic Louisiana; Mississippi. locations.

Inclusive 1924-1990. dates.

Bulk dates. 1927-1963.

Languages. English.

Summary. Literary work by Evans Spencer Wall, Jr., including manuscript drafts of short stories, novels, and essays; typescripts of short stories, novels, synopses, and poetry; and three printed short stories and one novel. Also included are literary and personal correspondence; legal documents; printed items; and financial, business, and employment records documenting Wall's literary career and personal life dating from 1927-1963.

Related Mary Berthelot Wall Papers (Mss. #4438). collections.

Source. Purchase; 1991.

Citation. Evans Wall Papers, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Stack Range 91:29-34. location.

Biographical/Historical Note

Evans Spencer Wall, Jr. (d. June 10, 1963) was born November 16, 1886, to Mary Pettibone Wall and Evans Spencer Wall, Sr. on Richland Plantation. Richland was a cotton plantation near Woodville, Mississippi. Its main house was built in the late eighteenth century. Evans Wall was born in the house and grew up on the plantation. He lived at Richland with his first wife, Violet Ashley, and their daughter, Betty, until 1930. Evans Wall's first marriage was dissolved. In 1936 or 1937, he married Mary Claire Berthelot, a Louisiana poet, and resided in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Wall had no children by his second wife.

Wall attended Soule Commercial College in New Orleans for two years. He also attended Tulane Law School and Louisiana State University for brief periods of time. Wall held a wide variety of jobs. On information dating from the 1940s, he states that he worked, for example, as a wheat harvester, deck hand on a steamboat, automobile salesman, deputy sheriff, and lecturer on writing fiction. In the 1950s, he worked as an interviewer for survey companies.

Wall was also a writer, whose work is often set in the South. His first novel, The No-Nation Girl, published in 1929, was favorably reviewed in a number of magazines and newspapers and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by the publisher, The Century Co. Other published novels include: Love Fetish (1932), A Time to Sow (1932), The Marriage Rite (1932), Danger (1933), River God (1934), Lovers Cry for the Moon (1935), and Ask for Therese (1952). (See Bibliography on page 17 for the names of publishers.) Wall also wrote and published short stories and wrote a limited amount of poetry.

Scope and Content Note

The Evans Wall Papers contain correspondence, legal documents, printed items, typescripts, and manuscript drafts documenting Wall's literary career. Included is almost one linear foot of correspondence (1927-1962) from agents, agencies, publishers, and acquaintances sharing literary interests. Literary works by Wall include: three linear feet of manuscript drafts of short stories, novels, and essays; three linear feet of typescripts of short stories, novels, poetry, and synopses of his work; an incomplete set of galleys for The Marriage Rite; three printed short stories; and a printed copy of the novel Ask for Therese (1952). Financial, business, and employment records (1929-1962) and correspondence (1929-1963) document aspects of Wall's personal life and vocations other than his literary career. Primary personal correspondents include friend, Jane Feldman Johnson, and family members: Wall's father, Evans Spencer Wall, Sr. ("Papa"); daughter, Betty (Bette Mildred) Wall Ward; wife, Mary Claire Berthelot Wall; sisters, Lillian (Lil) Wall, Bettie B. Wall, and Annie Wall Eells ("Sister"); brother, Will (Willie) Wall (no letters are included to or from a second brother, Henry); nephew, Ralph T. Wall; and sister-in-law, Ethel Berthelot Allen.

Series and Subseries Descriptions

I. Biographical Materials, [194-]-1990, n.d. (1 folder)

Includes several versions of Wall's vita, an address book, a hand-written description by Wall, written in the 1940s, of his early years as a writer, and a 1959 letter by Wall roughly outlining his literary publications. Items written by people other than Wall include a brief biographical sketch, drafts of an obituary of Wall, and a genealogical chart of the descendants of John and Sara Lovelace Wall.

II. Literary Activities, 1927-1962, n.d. (1 linear foot)

Contains legal documents, correspondence, and reviews relating to Wall's literary activities. No literary works are included. (For works, see series VI, VIII, and IX.) The series is divided into five subseries: Contracts and Agreements, Agents and Agencies, Publishers, General Correspondence, and Excerpts from Reviews.

1. Contracts and Agreements, 1929-1962, n.d. (1 folder)
Arranged chronologically. Includes book contracts for the publication of The No-Nation Girl, Prisons of Flesh (probably published as Love Fetish), A Time to Sow, Danger, River God "and two other books" (the titles of which are not specified), Lovers Cry for the Moon, and Therese LeDuc (published as Ask for Therese). Reprint agreements and an agreement for publication of an article are also included.
2. Agents and Agencies, 1927-1962 (9 folders)
Arranged alphabetically by agent or agency and then chronologically. Includes correspondence to and from Wall and the following agents and agencies: Author and Journalist, Jim Haynes, Alex Jackinson, Polly Kitchen, Georgia C. Nicholas, Evelyn Singer, Carlson Wade, and Jack Woodford.
3. Publishers, 1927-1961 (7 folders)
Arranged alphabetically by publisher and then chronologically. Includes correspondence to and from Wall and the following publishing companies: Almat Publishing Corporation, The Century Co., Fawcett Publications, and Macaulay Company. Other publishing companies to and from which there is limited correspondence are grouped together and arranged chronologically.
4. General Correspondence, 1927-1961 (6 folders)
Includes correspondence with friends and acquaintances that focuses on literary topics. Letters from Fan Nichols, a writer, and Frank Powell are arranged separately and then chronologically. Remaining correspondents, from whom there are fewer letters per correspondent, are combined together and arranged chronologically. These correspondents include, for example, clipping agencies, potential reviewers, and acquaintances offering professional advice.
5. Excerpts from Reviews, n.d. (1 folder)
Includes excerpts from reviews of Wall's work compiled by Wall.

III. Personal Correspondence, 1929-1963, n.d. (13 folders)

Contains correspondence from family members, friends, and acquaintances divided into four subseries: Family, Jane Feldman Johnson, Word and Phrase Interests, and Other Correspondents.

1. Family, 1929-1963, n.d. (8 folders)

Arranged chronologically. Includes correspondence from family members: Wall's father, Evans Spencer Wall, Sr. (Papa); wife, Mary Claire Berthelot Wall; daughter, Betty (Bette Mildred) Wall Ward; sisters, Lillian (Lil) Wall, Bettie B. Wall, and Annie Wall Eells (Sister); brother, Will (Willie) Wall; nephew, Ralph T. Wall; a cousin identified only as Frank; and sister-in-law, Ethel Berthelot Allen. A few letters from Evans to family members are also included.

2. Jane Feldman Johnson, 1958-1961, n.d. (2 folders)

Arranged chronologically. Includes correspondence from friend, Jane Feldman Johnson, most of which concerns Johnson's troubled relationship with her husband.

3. Word and Phrase Interests, 1957-1959 (1 folder)
Arranged chronologically. Includes copies of correspondence from Wall to The Last Word, a CBS television show about language.
4. Other Correspondents, 1928-1962, n.d. (2 folders)
Arranged chronologically. Includes correspondence of a personal nature to and from individuals for whom there are very few letters.

IV. Financial and Business Records, 1929-1962, n.d. (2 folders)

Arranged chronologically. Contains financial and business records not related to Wall's literary or other vocational activities. Includes business correspondence, household receipts, welfare records, insurance records, and homestead exemptions. Many items are in Wall's wife's name, Mary Wall.

V. Employment Records, 1942-1962 (3 folders)

Arranged chronologically. Includes records pertaining to Wall's nonliterary vocations of fingerprint classifier (1942), special deputy sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish (1958), and interviewer for survey companies (1956-1962).

VI. Printed Items, 1924-1963, n.d. (10 folders)

Includes the following printed items by Wall: an incomplete set of galleys for The Marriage Rite (published in 1932); short stories, "The Miracle" (1949), "Land of Desire" (1927), and "Lake of Sang Pour Sang" (1961); and the novel Ask for Therese (1952). Also included are a collection of erotica resources (1956-1958, n.d.); The Baton Rouge UFO Bulletin (1957-1958); and miscellaneous items (1924-1963, n.d.), including poetry, clippings, ephemera, and catalogs.

VII. Photographs and Negatives, 1960 (1 folder)

Includes unidentified photographs and negatives.

VIII. Typescripts, n.d. (3 linear feet)

Includes typescripts of short stories, novels, poetry, and synopses by Wall. Within the categories of short stories and novels, works are arranged alphabetically. Limited amounts of poetry and synopses of Wall's works follow the novels. After the synopses, there is one linear foot of unidentified typescript pages, many of which have continuous pagination.

IX. Manuscript Drafts: Originals and Photocopies, n.d. (6 linear feet)

Includes handwritten drafts of short stories, novels, essays, and unidentified material (such as partial drafts and literary notes) as well as photocopies of each item. The original manuscript drafts comprise three linear feet with the copies comprising an additional three feet for the total of six linear feet. Both the originals and photocopies are arranged alphabetically within each literary category. The copies are in separate boxes from the originals and should be used whenever possible rather than the originals due to the deteriorated condition of the latter. Also, a few drafts of letters by Wall are included in some notebooks. Photocopies of these letters are included not only in this series but also in the series to which each letter relates.

Index Terms

Allen, Ethel Berthelot III.1

Almat Publishing Corporation II.3

Author and Journalist II.2

The Baton Rouge UFO Bulletin VI

The Century Co. II.3

Eells, Annie Wall III.1

Fawcett Publications II.3

Haynes, Jim II.2

Jackinson, Alex II.2

Johnson, Jane Feldman III.2

Kitchen, Polly II.2

The Last Word III.3

Macaulay Company II.3

Nicholas, Georgia C. II.2

Nichols, Fan II.4

Powell, Frank II.4

Singer, Evelyn II.2

Wade, Carlson II.2

Wall, Bettie III.1

Wall, Evans Spencer, Sr. III.1

Wall, Lillian III.1

Wall, Mary Claire Berthelot III.1

Wall, Ralph T. III.1

Wall, Will III.1

Ward, Betty (Bette Mildred) Wall III.1

Woodford, Jack II.2


The following list, arranged chronologically, includes only published novels by Evans Wall. Reprints of novels, other published works, such as short stories and poetry, and unpublished works are not included. Most but not all of the works listed are available as cataloged copies at LLMVC. Please consult the library's online catalog. Ask for Therese is part of the Papers (series VI).

The No-Nation Girl. New York, London: The Century Co., 1929.

Love Fetish. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1932.

The Marriage Rite. New York: A. H. King, Inc., 1932.

A Time to Sow. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1932.

Danger. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1933.

River God. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1934.

Lovers Cry for the Moon. New York: The Macaulay Company, 1935.

Ask for Therese. New York: Rio Publishing Corporation, 1952.