Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Series 43 A: Honorary Degrees
Extent: 0.5 linear feet; 1 box
Access: No restriction on access.

Biographical Note: 

Marjorie Kinnan was born on 8 August 1896 in Washington D.C. She studied English at the University of Wisconsin where she wrote for both the school yearbook and its literary magazine. After she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1918, she went to New York City where she worked for the YWCA while trying to sell her short stories and poetry.

In 1919, Kinnan married Chuck Rawlings whom she had met at university. The couple moved to Louisville, Kentucky where they both worked on the local newspaper. Subsequently, they moved to Rochester, New York. Rawlings continued to work as a journalist but still could not sell her stories. A 1928 vacation in Florida led to her solving that problem. The couple fell in love with the state; sold their home in Rochester, and moved to Cross Creek, Florida. Inspired by the people that she met and the surroundings in which she lived, Rawlings work finally won approval. Her short story "Gal Young Un" won the O. Henry Memorial Short Story Contest in 1933, and her first novel South Moon Under was chosen by the Book–of-the-Month Club as its monthly recommendation. 1933 was not, however, such a good year in her private life as she and Chuck divorced. Rawlings continued to live and write at Cross Creek. She published The Yearling, in 1938, which was later made into a film. Rollins College awarded her an honorary degree, Doctor of Literature, in 1939—the same year that she was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Rawlings spoke several times at the Animated Magazine organized by Rollins College. Her readings included: "The Cane Grinding", 1934; "A Mother in Mannville", 1937; excerpts from The Yearling, 1938; In the Heart, 1941, and The Shell, 1945.

Rawlings married Norton Baskin in 1941, and served on the Pledge for Peace Committee of the Writers War Board during World War II. Her 1942 novel, Cross Creek, gave rise to a charge of slander. At the court hearing to decide the matter, A. J. Hanna gave evidence that Rawlings's books gave a true representation of Florida because they accurately described the state and its people.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings died on 14 December 1953 in St. Augustine, Florida.

Author of: South Moon Under (1933); Golden Apples (1935); The Yearling (1938); When the Whippoorwill (1940); Cross Creek (1942); Cross Creek Cookery (1942) and The Sojourner (1953)

Scope and Content:

These records reflect the connection between Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Rollins College. They document her frequent visits to the College, where she gave readings for the Animated Magazine, a yearly occurrence during Founders Week. The Magazine was a live performance of writers reading from their works to a local audience of between five and seven thousand people.

The most remarkable part of the records is the forty-eight piece correspondence between Rawlings and Rollins' President Hamilton Holt, spanning the years 1933 to 1949. While her letters are the originals, those from Holt to her are carbon copies. From this correspondence the reader gains insights into a relationship of mutual respect and affection, going beyond the confines of a mere business association. The University of Florida holds Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings papers. Follow the link below to their finding aid:

For related records available in this Department see:

45 E Faculty Files: Granberry, Edwin Phillips
45 E Faculty Files: Grover, Edwin Osgood
45 E Faculty Files: Hanna, Alfred Jackson
45 G Visiting Faculty Files: Hanna, Kathryn Abbey
28 Founders Week, 1934; 1937; 1938; 1939; 1941; 1945.
28 B Animated Magazine, 1934; 1937; 1938; 1941; 1945.
21D Endowed Chairs: Irving Bacheller Chair of Creative Writing
Photographic Collection: Animated Magazine; Founders Week, Rawlings, M. K.
Florida Vertical File: Cross Creek; Rawlings, M. K.


The series consists of materials gathered in connection with Rawlings' appearance at Rollins College's Animated Magazine. It contains letters to Hamilton Holt, and other Rollins personnel. There are also her typewritten drafts of some of the readings she gave at the Animated Magazines. Apart from the letters and manuscripts, all materials are of a secondary nature, such as contemporary newspaper clippings and printed programs, 


Box  Folder  Content
1 1 Secondary biographical materials. 
Newspaper clippings, obituaries, photocopied excerpts from books, chronologies.
2 Rawlings-Holt correspondence
Photocopies, originals in manuscript collection.
3  Typed drafts of readings given at the Animated Magazine 
"In the Heart" and "A Mother in Mannville." Both pieces are edited (by her?) for shorter readings.
4 Honorary degree presentation and citation
Text of nomination by Richard Burton; text of citation by Hamilton Holt.
5 Animated Magazine programs
Contains the programs that list Rawlings as reader.
6 Other Rollins connections
Letters to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios about a "Yearling" premiere in Florida.
7 Correspondence concerning the Cross Creek Trial and Hanna testimony; news clippings.
8 Excerpts from University of Florida Archives and Special Collections Register of Rawlings' correspondencein their holdings.
9 Rollins College's Animated Magazine and the Holt-Rawlings Correspondence. By Kathleen J. Reich. A paper presented at the 10th Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society Meeting at Rollins College April 18, 1997.
10 Archival correspondence 
Inquiries about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's connection with the College