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Elizabeth Hardwick, The Simple Truth manuscript, 1955

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Finding aid prepared by Ida Sell


Elizabeth Hardwick,

The Simple Truth manuscript,




University of Kentucky Special Collections


The collection is arranged sequentially by page number.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Preferred Citation Note

55M51 : [identification of item], Elizabeth Hardwick, The Simple Truth manuscript, 1955, University of Kentucky Special Collections.


0.23 Cubic feet

1 box


The Elizabeth Hardwick A Simple Truth collection includes correspondence with Hardwick and her publishers, University of Kentucky Special Collections, and her manuscript The Simple Truth.


"Elizabeth Hardwick (July 27, 1916 – December 2, 2007) was an American literary critic, novelist, and short story writer. Hardwick was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1939. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947.

In 1959, Hardwick published in Harper's, The Decline of Book Reviewing, a generally harsh and even scathing critique of book reviews published in American periodicals of the time. The 1962 New York City newspaper strike helped inspire Hardwick, Robert Lowell, Jason Epstein, Barbara Epstein, and Robert B. Silvers to establish The New York Review of Books, a publication that became as much a habit for many readers as The New York Times Book Review, which Hardwick had eviscerated in her 1959 essay. In the '70s and early '80s, Hardwick taught writing seminars at Barnard College and Columbia University's School of the Arts, Writing Division. She gave forthright critiques of student writing and was a mentor to students she considered promising.

From 1949 to 1972 she was married to the poet Robert Lowell; their daughter is Harriet Lowell. In 2008, The Library of America selected Hardwick's account of the Caryl Chessman murders for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime writing. She died in 2007 in Manhattan."

"Elizabeth Hardwick", Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia Foundation Inc. 11 August 2011. Web. 18 August 2011.

Scope and Content

Elizabeth Hardwick, The Simple Truth manuscript, includes the typescript manuscript of Elizabeth Hardwick Lowell's novel, The Simple Truth. It also includes a letter from Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc. Publishers who returned the typescript of the manuscript in February 1955 to Hardwick. Another letter shows that Elizabeth Hardwick Lowell gifted her manuscript to the University of Kentucky's manuscript collection on March 28, 1955. She states in the letter that she was looking for the manuscript of another novel she published titled, The Ghostly Lover, so that she could donate that to the Kentucky Authors manuscript collection as well.


  • Authors, American--Kentucky.
  • Books--Reviews.
  • Manuscripts--Kentucky--Private collections.

Collection Inventory

Correspondence and Pages 1-134, 1955
[Box: 1, Folder: 1]
Pages 135-207, 1955
[Box: 1, Folder: 2]