This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
|Size||1.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 720 items)|
|Abstract||"Contempo" was a journal of literature and social commentary published by Milton Abernethy and Anthony Buttitta in Chapel Hill, N.C., from 1931 to 1934. The collection includes incoming correspondence, typescripts of literary works, clippings of articles, and photographs pertaining to "Contempo." Among the correspondents are Conrad Aiken (one letter, one poem), Sherwood Anderson (four letters), Kay Boyle (three letters, one long poem), James Branch Cabell (one letter), Erskine Caldwell (one letter, one short story), Hart Crane (two letters, one poem), e. e. cummings (one letter), Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) (one long poem), T.S. Eliot (one letter), William Faulkner (two letters, one note), Langston Hughes (3 letters); H.L. Mencken (three letters), Eugene O'Neill (one letter), Ezra Pound (twelve letters, one clipping), Upton Sinclair (ten letters), Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (two letters), Wallace Stevens (two letters), and William Carlos Williams (seven letters, one article).|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
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Milton Abernethy, Anthony Buttitta, and three other young men began publishing Contempo in Chapel Hill early in 1931, describing it in their first issue as a review of "ideas and personalities of some significance that demand immediate comment." Combining literature and a progressive political slant (while avoiding the championship of "any particular group or definite order"), Contempo featured poetry, fiction, and literary and social criticism by a variety of writers, including Kay Boyle, Erskine Caldwell, William Faulkner, Langston Hughes, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams.
In mid 1933, Buttitta and Abernethy, Contempo's remaining editors, quarreled and parted ways. Abernethy and his wife Mina continued to edit Contempo until February, 1934, when it ceased publication, apparently for lack of funds.
See "A History and Index of Contempo," by Judith Hay, master's thesis, University of Louisville, 1971. The North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, holds a copy of this thesis as well as a complete run of ContempoBack to Top
This collection consists chiefly of letters from contributors or potential contributors to Contempo, and typescripts of their poetry, fiction, and articles. There is also correspondence of a more routine nature, with booksellers and publishers, and a few clippings, photocopies of articles, and photographs.
[The Contempo Collection in The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas, Austin, houses "a substantial portion of the correspondence files from the two main editors..and a large and miscellaneous assortment of materials connected with printing the magazine and running the bookstore where Contempo was headquartered - contributors'manuscripts, galley proofs, page proofs, and various bookkeeping records from The Intimate Bookshop," according to the Library Chronicle of The University of Texas at Austin, New Series No. 27.]Back to Top
Arrangement: Alphabetical by contributor.
Chiefly letters from authors who had been invited to submit work to Contempo, and, in some cases, writings by them. While many of the letters are rather brief, others are longer and reveal much about correspondents such as Kay Boyle and James T. Farrell. This series is particularly notable for material from Ezra Pound, Upton Sinclair, and William Carlos Williams.
|Separated Folder SEP-4408/1|
Arrangement: alphabetical by name of individual correspondent or institution.
Chiefly letters from readers of Contempo ordering subscriptions and back issues of the magazine, and from libraries, publishing companies, and book dealers.
Photocopies of two articles by Abernethy; newspaper clippings and clippings from Contempo; and the envelopes in which much of the correspondence in Series 1 and 2 arrived.
Processed by: Laura K. O'Keefe, May 1985
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top