The We Of Me : The Chosen Families of Carson McCullers

January 31 – May 21, 2017
Yarbrough Gallery

  • Carson and Reeves McCullers
    ca. 1937
    Courtesy of the Columbus State University Archives.

  • McCullers' passport
    These pages from Carson McCullers’ 1951 passport list her place of birth as Columbus and her occupation as “Author.”
    Courtesy of the Columbus State University Archives.

  • McCullers' passport
    These pages from Carson McCullers’ 1951 passport list her place of birth as Columbus and her occupation as “Author.”
    Courtesy of the Columbus State University Archives.

  • Carson McCullers and Mary Mercer
    Carl Van Vechten
    1959
    Courtesy of the Columbus State University Archives.

  • Carson McCullers and playwright Edward Albee on Fire Island
    1962
    Courtesy of the Columbus State University Archives.

This exhibition spotlights Columbus author Carson McCullers, the city she grew up in, and the people she chose to call family. Critically acclaimed since their publication, McCullers’ works offer insight into the physical and cultural landscape of early 20th-century Columbus, as well as the family and friends she knew there. Her evocative descriptions of the streets, buildings, and landmarks inhabited by colorful characters echo the paths and people that she knew as a child in Columbus. Love of her close-knit family and concern for the city’s social and political structures mingle in McCullers’ descriptions of her hometown. Upon her move to New York as an adult, McCullers entered a new world of cultural and intellectual tastemakers. Her intensely personal relationships, both platonic and romantic, created an extended family that exemplified “the we of me” that McCullers and her characters searched for throughout most of their lives.

Using original documents and artifacts from the collections of the Columbus State University Archives and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, The We of Me examines McCullers’ childhood in Columbus, her circle of friends in New York, and the influence of these two different worlds in her writing. Much of the material will be on public display for the first time, including correspondence, photographs, and other items meticulously cataloged by the late Dr. Mary Mercer, McCullers’ psychiatrist and close friend who lived with the author for years. Curated with the assistance of Columbus State University interns, the Museum’s exhibition is part of a city-wide celebration of the February 2017 centennial of McCullers’ birth.

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This project is supported by Georgia Humanities through appropriations made by the Georgia General Assembly.

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