Audiovisual Collection on Elizabeth Madox Roberts, 1980s

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator: Saint Catherine College (Springfield, Ky.)

Title: Audiovisual Collection on Elizabeth Madox Roberts, 1980s

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for this collection, contact the Collections Department at gro.l1717004948aciro1717004948tsihn1717004948oslif1717004948@hcra1717004948eser1717004948

Size of Collection: 2 VHS tapes, 4 1/4 inch audio tape reels, 1 audio cassette, 1 CD, 2 DVDs

Location Number:  021PC22AV

Accession Number: 021PC22


Biographical Note:

Elizabeth Madox Roberts (1881-1941) was born 30 October 1881 in Perryville, the second of eight children, to Mary Elizabeth Brent (1853-1951) and Simpson Roberts (1848-1933). Both her parents worked at one time as teachers in the Kentucky school system, and her father also worked as a civil engineer. When Roberts was young, the family moved to Springfield, where she attended Washington County public schools. She later attended Covington High School in Covington, where she lived with her maternal grandparents.

In 1900, Roberts enrolled in the University of Kentucky but dropped out after only one semester due to poor health. For the next 10 years, Roberts taught school in Springfield, and in 1910 she moved to Colorado for a time to live with her sister.

In 1917, at age 36, Roberts enrolled in the University of Chicago and joined the Chicago Poetry Club, in which she found a strong literary community and lifelong friendships with fellow writers and poets, including Yvor Winters, Glenway Wescott, Maurine Smith, and Janet Lewis. She graduated in 1921 and was awarded the Fiske Prize for a poetry collection that would become her first book, Under the Tree. Roberts would go on to write two more volumes of poetry, two collections of short stories, and seven novels, two of which – The Time of Man (1926) and The Great Meadow (1930) – were contenders for the Pulitzer Prize. She won many more awards, including the O. Henry Memorial Short Story Prize in 1930.

Most of Roberts’s stories were set in Kentucky and drew inspiration from Kentucky life and culture. When not writing, Roberts enjoyed weaving on a hand loom. The walls of her family home in Springfield, located at 510 Walnut Street and known as “Elenores,” were adorned with many of her own fabric designs. The Filson has a few examples of her weaving in its museum collection.

Roberts struggled with frail health most of her life. In many of her letters she tells of hospital stays and painful skin conditions. In 1936, Roberts was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Roberts died in 1941 at the age of 60, shortly after publishing her last book, Not by Strange Gods. She died in Florida, where she spent her winters during the last years of her life, and she was buried in Springfield.

Roberts is often celebrated as one of Kentucky’s great writers. Her work still receives scholarship and critical analysis in classrooms and at the annual Elizabeth Madox Roberts Conference in Springfield, organized by the Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society. The first conference was held in 1981, at the centenary of Roberts’s birth, at Saint Catharine College.


Janet Lewis met Elizabeth Madox Roberts in 1919 through the University of Chicago Poetry Club. They became close friends.


Scope and Content Note:

Audio and video recordings on Elizabeth Maddox Roberts (1881-1941), a novelist and poet who lived in Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky. Includes a video interview by Dr. William H. Slavick with Janet Lewis, audio recordings of a 1981 conference on Roberts, “Flowering Out of Stone” documentary by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, and an “Elizabeth Maddox Roberts: Weaver of Words” KET program.

The processing archivist used the original labels on the media for the item titles below. The media is arranged by creation date.


Related Collections:

Mss. A R643a Roberts, Elizabeth Madox, 1881-1941. Papers, 1911-1941

Mss. A R643b Roberts, Elizabeth Madox (1881-1941) Added Papers, 1888-2016

021PC22 Elizabeth Maddox Roberts Photograph Collection

2021.14 Elizabeth Maddox Roberts Museum Objects


Related Collections in Other Repositories:

MSS37978 Elizabeth Madox Roberts Papers, 1921-1941, United States Library of Congress


Access Note:

The 1/4 inch audio tapes must be digitized before they can be accessed. Please contact Collections staff at gro.l1717004948aciro1717004948tsihn1717004948oslif1717004948@hcra1717004948eser1717004948


Item List:

021PC22AV 01a-b: Dr. William H. Slavick interview with Janet Lewis, circa 1980s, 1 VHS tape and 1 DVD, 00:54:09, transferred from U-matic tape, copyright WMC-TV, Memphis, Tennessee

021PC22AV 02: Elizabeth Maddox Roberts Conference, October 30-31, 1981, 1/4 inch audio tape reel, 1200 ft. Side 1: October 30 evening readings. Side 2: October 31 morning and Dr. Slavick.

021PC22AV 03: Elizabeth Maddox Roberts Conference, October 31, 1981, 11:30 AM Rouit to Simpson, 1/4 inch audio tape reel

021PC22AV 04: Janet Lewis Winters at Elizabeth Maddox Roberts Conference, October 31, 1981, 4PM, 1/4 inch audio tape reel, 1200 feet

021PC22AV 05a-b: Flowering Out of Stone, 1 audio cassette and 1 CD. Slides and script written by Sister Marie Francesca Cameron, OP, Saint Catherine College Librarian in 1980s, and narrated by Sisters Mary Brigid Gregory and Patricia Rae McNamara, Saint Catherine College English Instructors.

021PC22AV 06a-b: Elizabeth Maddox Roberts: Weaver of Words, 1986, 1 FUJI SG VHS tape and 1 DVD, about 00:37:00. Produced and broadcast by KET in 1982 and rerun in 1986. Helen Lewis, Wade Hall (1934-2015), Sister Marie Francesca Cameron, James Still (1906-2001), Dr. William H. Slavick, and J. S. Moran appear in the video.

021PC22AV 07: Washington County History, Tape 1, undated, 1/4 inch audio tape, warping


Subject Headings:

Cameron, Marie Francesca, 1924-1995

Lewis, Janet Loxley, 1899-1998


Religious orders

Roberts, Elizabeth Madox, 1881-1941

Saint Catherine College (Springfield, Ky.)

Springfield (Ky.)

Washington County (Ky.)