Bucklin Moon Manuscript Collection

Extent: 1.25 linear feet; 3 boxes  

Access: No restriction on access except for one folder that remains confidential

Biographical note:    

Biographical note: 

Bucklin Renssalear Moon was born on May 13, 1911, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. His parents were Chester D. Moon, a lumberman in the Midwest, and Edith Bucklin Moon. He had one sister named Marjorie.
In his early years, B. Moon wandered through a series of prep schools, including Snyder School in Captiva Island, Rivers School in Boston, Fessenden in Mass. and Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault, Minn., before relocating to Florida.

Bucklin Moon entered Rollins College in 1929, and withdrew in 1930 to work on his stuttering problem. He returned in the following year and graduated with an A.B. in history in 1934.  He studied under Edwin Granberry, author of the O. Henry Prize-winning story “A Trip to Czardis” (1932) and such Florida novels as The Erl King (1930).  He was also a member of the X Club and the college football team, and an associate editor of the campus student publication Flamingo.  It was at Rollins that Moon became friendly with Zora Neale Hurston, who visited the college’s creative writing class regularly and presented her folk plays in the college theater.  Bucklin married Elizabeth (Betty) Frederica Vogler, (Rollins ’32) on April 11, 1936.  They settled in Winter Park for a brief period of time and their first daughter, Deborah was born on September 24, 1939.  Bucklin had three other children – Bucklin Jr., Abigail Jordan and Sarah Lucey.

 Bucklin Moon’s writing career took off after he became a literary editor in New York City.  While an editor with Doubleday (1940 – 1951), Moon wrote or edited four remarkable books in a six-year span.  His first, The Darker Brother, a book of the Month Club alternative for 1943, traces the life of a young black who leaves Winter Park for Harlem in search of the promised land.  In 1945 Moon became the first white to publish an anthology of writing by and about black America in A Primer for White Folks.  Two years later he switched to economic analysis in The High Cost of Prejudice.  His finest work, Without Magnolias, an account of a black family in Winter Park and Orlando, appeared in 1949 and won the George Washington Carver Award of $2,500 for the best book of the year by or about blacks.

Although he later edited The Doubleday Anthology in 1962, Moon’s writing career largely ended when the U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee accused him, along with Marlon Brando, Judy Holliday, and Lee L. Cobb, of being part of the Communist peace initiative.  A fiction editor for Collier’s Magazine at the time, he denied the charge and fought it.  When Collier’s fired him in 1953, Commonweal compared him to Joseph K. in Kafka’s The Trial.  Unemployed, divorced, depressed, he attempted suicide.  Eventually he returned to editing and married Ann Curtis Brown, but he realized that his life had changed profoundly. 

Finally, Moon headed to Marco Island.  An avid fisherman, he always found himself attracted to the water.  Returning to New York, he collected his dogs, Mumsie and Alice, from Marion Heldt, the woman whom he then called the Dog Lady and later married after the death of Ann Curtis Brown. They eventually settled down in Tavernier, Florida.  Bucklin died on September 19, 1984 in Plantation Key, Florida after a brief illness.

Publications of Bucklin Moon


“Curtain” (Flamingo 7.2 58-63)


“Smoky” (Flamingo 7.5 211-13); “Young Ole” (Flamingo 8.2 51-59)


“American Saga”


“When Snow Flies in Canada”(Review of Reviews)  
“Between the Covers” (Weekly column for the Town Topics, New York’s Journal of Society)


“Boats for Hire” (Harper’s Magazine)


Darker Brother (Doubleday) Book of the Month Recommended Book (PS3525 .O5322 D3 1943)


A Primer for White Folks (Doubleday) E185.5 .P75 1945


The High Cost of Prejudice (J. Messner, and Westport: CT: Negro University Press in 1970) E185.61 .M75 1947


Without Magnolias (Doubleday, and London: Seckler & Warburg in 1950)
George Washington Carver Award for outstanding writing by or about American Negroes (PS3525 .O537 W5 1949) 


(ed.) Champs and Bums (NY: Lion) Boxing stories of William Saroyan


(ed.) A Doubleday Anthology (Doubleday)  

Collection Scope and Content:   

These records reflect the writing career of Bucklin Moon, and the connection between Bucklin Moon and Rollins College. The most remarkable parts of the collection are Moon’s handwritten manuscripts on various subjects ranging from politics and black colleges to editing books; and his type-written, unpublished memoir with handwritten revisions.  From those folders one can gain insights into the mind of a talented author with a vision for his time, the first white writer to examine the black family without relying on either stereotype or tragedy.

Series Description:  

The first series (folders 1 – 9) consists of the items that Rollins collected on Bucklin Moon over the years.  Moon’s 1934 yearbook photo, alumni registration cards, correspondence with President Holt, book reviews, news release and clippings about Moon’s various publications are all in this series.  A research report on Moon’s life and writings by Dr. O’Sullivan (2002) of the English Department is also included.

Series II to IV contain materials donated in 2002 by Marian Moon, third wife of Bucklin Moon.  Series II (folders 10 – 14) includes Marian’s newspaper clippings and correspondence with various editors and publishers about Moon’s manuscripts, and short stories written by Maggie Held (Marion Moon?).  Series III (folders 15 – 19) contains Moon’s handwritten manuscripts on various subjects ranging from politics and black colleges to editing books, and Series IV (folders 20 – 43) holds his typewritten, unpublished memoir with handwritten revisions.  Only Chapters 27 to 47 are available, and Chapter 31 is missing. 

Inventory: Box 1, Series I  
Folder Content 


Secondary biographical materials, 1934 yearbook photo, alumni registration cards, newspaper clippings

2. Moon-Holt correspondence


Moon: “Boats for Hire” (Harper’s Magazine, Spring 1938)


Moon: Dark Brother


Moon: High Cost of prejudice


Moon: Without Magnolias


Books edited by Moon


Moon: “When Snow Flies in Canada” (Review of Reviews, Jan. 1936)


Maurice O’Sullivan: “Total Eclipse” (Rhea Marsh & Dorothy Lockhart Smith Winter Park History Research Grant Report 2002)

Series II.  


Correspondence & Newspaper Clippings of Marion Moon


“Ugly American at Home” by Maggie Held (Marion Moon?): Manuscript, Correspondence & News Clippings


“Ugly American at Home” (Alternate Titles: Evil & Ugly, Big Ugly, Dirt Bag, Dirt Bags with Money…): Duplicate Copies


Moon: Legal & Confidential Information


Miscellaneous Notes & Correspondence on Moon’s Memoir by Marion Moon

Series III.  


Moon on Jazz (17 pages of handwritten manuscript with typewritten copy)


Moon on Editing Books at Doubleday (15 pages of handwritten manuscript with typewritten copy)


Moon on Causes & Politics (21 pages of handwritten manuscript)


Moon on Black Colleges (15 pages of handwritten manuscript)


Moon on Colliers Backwash (15 pages of handwritten manuscript)

Boxes 2 & 3, Series IV.


Moon’s Memoir (Misc. Sections)


Folders 21 to 43 are the Memoir of Bucklin Moon. (Typewritten, unpublished with author and editor’s handwritten revisions. Chapters 27 to 47 only with 31 missing.)

Two of Moon's manuscripts - "Collier's Mess" and "On Editing" - are available online at the Winter Park Public Library's Winter Park History and Archives Collection.