Friday, January 7, 2011

A Visit to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Home

Today's outing took us to the Florida home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953), Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such works as "The Yearling" and "Cross Creek."
Trips to authors' homes have always been of particular interest to me, combining, as they do, issues of historic preservation and literary history.
The Rawlings site is distinctive in several ways: the home of a woman author, chosen by her as an isolated rural retreat to be financed by income from the citrus groves on the working agricultural property. After a period of decline and neglect in the 1970s, preservation efforts began in earnest. The site today is a Florida State Park. Since 2007, it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1996, on the centenary of her birth, the site was listed as a literary landmark by Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA).

As chance would have it, there's a nice New England connection:  among the prominent writers who visited and stayed with Rawlings was Robert Frost. In 2009, FOLUSA honored the Jones Library with a plaque notings its role in preserving the papers and legacy of the poet.

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