Skip to Search



A Guide to the Cross Creek Trial (Cason vs. Baskin) Papers

Finding aid created by Dept. Staff

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
June 2008


Descriptive Summary

Creator: May, Philip Stockton, 1891-
Title: Cross Creek Trial (Cason vs. Baskin) Papers
Dates: 1938-1949
Abstract: Correspondence, legal papers, and other materials pertaining to the trial of Cason vs. Baskin (the Cross Creek Trial) involving author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Extent: 3.33 Linear feet. 9 boxes.
Identification: MS Group 33
Language(s): English
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

In 1942 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings published Cross Creek, her autobiographical account of life in rural Florida. The book featured many of her neighbors and friends, including her longtime maid, Idella Parker, her friend Zelma Cason, her tenants the Mickens family, and her nearby neighbors the Bass and Glisson families. In 1943, Rawlings was surprised when Zelma Cason sued her for libel and invasion of privacy for the manner in which the author had portrayed Cason in Cross Creek. Although Rawlings won the initial case, the trial went to appeal and she was ordered to pay Cason $1 in damages. The case proved to be a great distraction, and it greatly soured Rawlings towards Cross Creek and the region. Rawlings and her husband Norton Baskin were represented by attorney Philip Stockton May of Jacksonville.

An account of the trial may be found in Patricia Nassif Acton's Invasion of Privacy: The Cross Creek Trial of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1988).


Scope and Content

Correspondence and legal documents relating to the suit of Zelma Cason vs. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her husband Norton Baskin for libel and invasion of privacy. The bulk of the papers are from the files of the Baskins' attorney Phil May, including his correspondence with Rawlings and other correspondence concerning the case; preparatory material; court briefs and judgments; a trial transcript; and clippings regarding the trial, the book, and its author. Among the letters are those received by Rawlings from readers of the book. Additional records from the Alachua County Circuit Court include a transcript, notes of the presiding judge, and the copy of Cross Creek which was entered as evidence.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Related or Separated Material

Additional material may be found in the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Papers.

Letters from Max E. Perkins, Sept. - Dec. 1941, were removed from these papers and placed in the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Papers.


Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Cross Creek Trial (Cason vs. Baskin) Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.


Contents List

Correspondence from Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings to Philip May, 1943-1948, and Not dated


Box Folder
1 1 1948, Dec. 17. St. Augustine. TLS to Philip May. Regrets newspaper story, without notice to Kate Walton, concerning elimination of "Zelma" from book Cross Creek.
1 2 1948, Nov. 24. Cross Creek. ALS to Philip May. Lending house at Cross Creek to the Gilkysons. Working on new Cross Creek chapter on census taking.
1 3 1948 Sept. 9. Van Hornesville, NY. TLS to Philip May. Discusses deletion of character "Zelma" from book Cross Creek. Quotes from letter of Charles Scribner agreeing. Will consult before new material sent to Scribner's.
1 4 1948 Aug. 21. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Preparing to leave for Van Hornesville. Had a letter from Cliff Lyons saying law recognizes "invasion of privacy." Zelma wants to sell house in Island Grove. Thinks she will put a new character, "Jakey," into Cross Creek, and leave out "Zelma."
1 5 1948 Aug. 13. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Reaction to Kate Walton's letter is to keep census taking chapter as it is and attribute profanity to male character "my friend Jakey."
1 6 1948 Aug. 10. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Reprimands self for not carrying fight on to the end. Does not want May to feel failure. She has fury for members of Supreme Court. Knows privately defeated.
1 7 1948 April 23. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Glad to have May's opinion on gubernatorial candidates. Tells an incident in which a colored man took her dog to Miss Cason's in Palatka.
1 8 1948 April 12. St. Augustine. TLS to Philip May. Returning copy of Supreme Court decision in Winter's case. Has marked passage of dissenting opinion. Supreme Court believes Zelma's violent-like nature. Remembers incident which proves their good relationship in 1939.
1 9 1948 March 30. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Wondering if may not stand chance for favorable ruling from the Supreme Court. Discussion of Miami Herald and Scribner putting up money for case. Doubtful if she will be able to afford it in future.
1 10 1948 March 4. St. Augustine. ANS to Philip May. Attached to a copy of part of letter Mrs. Parker received from Z.N. Hurston. Hurston expresses opinion on Zelma. M.K.R. suggests making copy of letter and return.
1 11 1948 Jan. 30. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Describes deplorable condition of home at Cross Creek after renting it to Thelma Shortridge. Tells of mistreatment of Martha and Old Will.
1 12 1948 Jan. 21. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Seems Kate Walton threatening with a new suit if she doesn't pay up. Tells of Thelma Shortridge's catastrophe. Session at Creek put her in bed for two days.
1 13 1948 Jan. 8. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Puzzled at Walton's "legal" goings on concerning a mysterious letter. MKR tells how she tried to repair "breach" between her and Zelma.
1 14 1947 Nov. 7. St. Augustine. TLS to Philip May. Passes on an amusing bit of information told to her by Mrs. Cason about Zelma.
1 14a 1947 Oct. 10. Van Hornesville, NY. ALS to Philip May. Decided not to accept the invitation of Florida Historical Society. Suggests Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
1 15 1947 Sept. 30. Van Hornesville, NY. TLS to Philip May. She encloses page from Herald Tribune. Argued with Mr. Young and son about case. Wants to know what Walton's are doing. Had a good summer and bought a house. Returning to FL with Norton.
1 16 1947 June 26. Van Hornesville, NY. TLS to Philip May. Describes surroundings of old house in NY. Mrs. Young started her on rigid diet. Tells what she should like to write to the Supreme Court of FL concerning her personal memoirs.
1 17 1947 May 7. Hawthorn. ALS to Philip May. She and Idella feeling better. Thanks him for Toynbee's Study of History. Found possibly first edition of Golden Apples. Sending it to Alberts instead of new copy.
1 18 1947 April 21. Jacksonville. AN (telephone message from the desk of Crawford). Telling that Marjorie had an accident. Apologies for not having written to Alberts. Will be at cottage sometime.
1 19 1947 April 9. Island Grove. Telegram to Philip May. "My thoughts are with you."
1 20 1947 April 3. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Read his brief and believes it masterfully done. Asks several rhetorical questions about brief.
1 21 1947 March 20. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Had a letter from Steve Trumball telling that he and judge Murphree had discussed trial. Passed information on to Marjorie. Waiting for copy of May's brief.
1 22 1947 March 4. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Maxwell Perkins sent her a political cartoon from Hearst papers. Comments that she could be outraged and sue but will not.
1 23 1947 March 4. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Detailed comments and questions on Walton's brief with idea of correcting misstatements.
1 24 1947 Feb. 26. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May (with some autograph additions). Has received a delightful letter from Cary Hardee. Will be careful not to offend in future. Sent him signed editions of The Yearling and Cross Creek.
1 25 1947 Feb. 13. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Asking whether to send an answer to Clearwater Sun's newspaper attack. (Carbon copy of letter to Clearwater Sun attached. Also, an autographed note possibly from Mr. May advising to ignore editorial).
1 26 1947 Feb. 12. Cross Creek. TLS to "Colonel Clearwater," The Clearwater Sun. Carbon copy of letter to the Clearwater Sun in answer to an editorial. (Attached to a letter from MKR to Philip May.)
1 27 1947 Feb. 3. Crescent Beach. ALS to Philip May. She will not be able to see May at Creek. Suggests he drive to cottage the last day to talk if necessary.
1 28 1947 Jan. 30. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Having aunts spend a week at Creek with her. Invites him to use Creek. Hoped case would go to the Supreme Court earlier.
1 29 1947 Jan. 15. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Afraid he can't use the enclosed in brief before Supreme Court. Encloses also a copy of note to Mr. Lambright and Alberts and editorial from Tampa Morning Tribune by Lambright.
1 30 1946 Dec. 11. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Expresses gratitude to him. Sends check for legal fees. Tells of NY trip to consult with MGM. Encloses quote from Sigrid Undset's letter.
1 31 1946 Sept. 20. Blowing Rock, North Carolina. TLS to Philip May. Found cottage here. Stay and work a month longer. Asks if suit appealed.
1 32 1946 Aug. 28. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Tells of nervous exhaustion from law suit. Going to mountains no idea where. Encloses check. [Letter missing, April 30, 1999]
1 33 1946 July 25. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Concerns expenses and witnesses fees. Sends carbon copy of letter to Scruggs. [Letter missing, April 30, 1999]
1 34 1946 July 25. n.p. TLS to Mr. Scruggs. Discusses his compensation for suit. (Two carbon copies enclosed in letter to Philip May, 1946 July 25).
1 35 1946 July 17. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. Concerned with Scruggs greed in his remuneration for suit. (Handed to P.S.M. at Crescent Beach Cottage 7/19/46 P.M.)
1 36 1946 June 8. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Dr. Canby to ask Dr. Lyons to write an article about case for Saturday Review of Literature. Discusses more about finances and Scruggs fee. Asks if Walton's will go farther. (Includes article from NY Herald Tribune). [Letter missing, April 30, 1999]
1 37 1946 June 6. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Making plans for a suitable day for May, wife, Howells, and Crawfords to get together for dinner at either Creek or cottage.
1 38 1946 June 1. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May (autographed note added). Expresses thanks for people who helped her during trial. Relates a story told to her about early Cason days in Island Grove. At Mrs. Moore's funeral whole town expressed friendship to her.
1 39 1946 May 11. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Arranged arrival of Dessie and Nettie. Encloses Mrs. Slater's letter.
1 40 1946 May 10. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Tells of a Mrs. McCollum who will testify as to Zelma's character. Asks him to take Mrs. Slater's deposition. Discusses different people who were proud to be mentioned in book.
1 41 1946 April 29. Valdosta, GA. ALS to Philip May. Tells of Dessie's concern to be present for trial. Agree to taking deposition too. Asks him to get copy of Atlanta Journal's book supplement. Information may be useful.
1 42 1946 April 18. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Relates an encounter with Zelma Cason. Asks if he had read an article in the Times-Union that might be pertinent. Thinks she has located another witness. Asks him to advise.
1 43 1946 April 12. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Jokes about Mr. Perkin's bill. Discusses literate vs illiterate jury and action to take in each case.
1 44 1946 April 10. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Speaks of a conversation with Mae Dupree about suit and Zelma's character.
1 45 1946 April 8. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Tells of a story in Miami herald brought to her by Vincent Brice. He will be glad to speak for his family concerning her writing of them.
1 46 1946 March 21. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. Financial discussion concerning Charles Scribner and Edward Perkins. Tells of occasion of last call at Riverside Hospital. Talks about incident involving characters from Florida sketches. Describes financial troubles.
1 47 1946 March 18. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Sending a report on a conversation with Chet Crosby. Also sends a P.S. from Whitney Darrow's letter. Will accompany him to a pre-trial hearing.
1 48 1946. March 15. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. 6 p. Received a report from Riverside Hospital. Established 1931 as date of falling out with Zelma. Reason for ceasing to use Dr. Cason as physician. While patient at Riverside, T.Z. asks if writing a new book. Gives reason for wanting to have trial over in a hurry.
1 49 1946 March 14. [Cross Creek?] TLS to Philip May. 3 p. Tell of a lengthy and interesting conversation with Chet Crosby.
1 50 1946 March 14. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Has eliminated some "fan" material. Asks him to consider another witness to testify and a letter from Joe Hendricks.
1 51 1946 March 16. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May.1 p. Sending the Hugh Williams note of introduction to Mrs. George Miller.
1 52 1946 March 9. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. 4 p. Doesn't like wiring business from Island Grove. Sets up date for meeting. Says should have sued T.Z. for malpractice. Asks him to help prepare witnesses for cross-examination. Comments on his integrity and interest in basic principles.
1 53 1946 March 8. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. 3 p. Trying to run down all income tax information possible. Names friends she would like to have him call for testimony.
1 54 1946 March 6. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. 3 p. Hopes he makes it possible to explain that there was no reluctance in refusing to answer interrogatives. Zelma and Kate were hedging on their answers. Describes tax of U.S. and British governments concerning Cross Creek. Note added asking for copies of interrogatives.
1 55 1946 March 5. Cross Creek. TLS to Philip May. 4 p. Prefers to let T.Z. alone, as not sure of his motives. Thinks they can get necessary information from Riverside Hospital, as to date of intimacy with Zelma. A Mr. Norton will fix up her tenant house. Says he fixed up Zelma's beer parlor.
1 56 1946 Feb. 9. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Tells of an incident in which Zelma gave consent to have a dirty poem printed in the "Green Sheet." Talks of getting editor, Mrs. Miller, to testify.
1 57 1946 Feb. 11. Hawthorne. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Thinks testimony of Dr. Canby was very interesting. Thinks that Hugh Williams has not yet seen Miss Vandergriff. Will inquire later.
1 58 1945 Dec. 31. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. 3 p. Tell of an amusing visit with Mrs. Cason, Zelma'a mother, when she gave her two bottles of whiskey for Christmas.
1 59 1945 Dec. 19. St. Augustine. TLS to Philip May 2 p. (ms. note added) Speaks of witnesses and certain interrogatives. Relates an incident when Zelma asked her not to write a book about her.
1 60 1945 Dec. 5. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Relates conversation with Scrugg about "Green Sheet." Thinks it should be a secret until the trial.
1 61 1945 Nov. 26. St. Augustine. TLS to Philip May. 4 p. About feelings of people she had contacted. Clears up all but Moe's family. Verle Pope will testify. Tells him a question he should ask her on the stand.
1 62 1945 Nov. 8. St. Augustine. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Complains about necessity of amendments. Can arrange a get-together with Chet Crosby. Voices objection again about interrogatives.
1 63 1945 Sept. 28. St. Augustine. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Wants to see amended pleas. Afraid interrogatives will give them away. Wants to check on a statement made by filling station attendant regarding Zelma. Outraged about feature story in Floridian about Edith Pope.
1 64 1945 Sept. 21. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Expresses concern about possibility that suit may last years and that Zelma might be able to sue her estate. Received some useful letters and encloses one to him.
1 65 1945 July 12. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Advising him not to bring guests to Castle Warden on certain days as it will be closed. Asks him to return material to Margaret Mitchell.
1 66 1945 July 18. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Asks him to consider calling some people to testify regarding Zelma's contribution to the "Green Sheet."
1 67 1945 July 2. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. 5 p. Hugh Williams informed her as to how Zelma's poem appeared in the "Green Sheet." Discusses it. Also, considers herself a southerner.
1 68 1945 June 15. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Margaret Mitchell has sent material. Wants him to return her letter. Cason's dallying. Thinks they want to settle.
1 69 1945 May 31. Crescent Beach. TLS to Philip May. 4 p. Says Verle Pope and Dessie will help. Quotes from a book called China to Me concerning troublesome people who want to be put in books. Belive quote pertinent and should be used.
1 70 1945 April 11. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Mr. Hugh Williams told her how Zelma's poem happened to be published in the "Green Sheet." Wants him to see if he can get a statement for Mr. Miller.
1 71 1945 March 26. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 4 p. (with attached note from Mrs. G. Bugbee) Feels he should get Hugh Williams to get Crescent City information. The St. Augustine ladies anxious to testify.
1 72 1945 March 13. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Gives him lead on a possible witness and background information of relationship with Zelma.
1 73 1945 March 9. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Note explaining enclosed check.
1 74 1945 March 8. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Concerned with getting more copies of Crescent City Sheet. She is worried about two witnesses as they are excitable.
1 75 1945 March 5. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Received sheet from a friend that may prove priceless. Has sent it to Scruggs to guard. Hopes they can get more copies.
1 76 1945 Feb. 27. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 10 p. Possible meeting. Had conversation with Mrs. Dyess about "Red Derby" and Zelma's age. Tells of an incident when Zelma said she did not want MKR to write a book about her. Comments on book sales and royalties. Asks him to raise a question about biographies.
1 77 1945 Feb. 10. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 2 p. Will call to make arrangements for meeting. Will got information from Scribner. Does not want to emphasize fame or fortune. Wants to expose Zelma as a busybody.
1 78 1945 Jan. 28. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Says if Zelma loses she will try personal revenge. His Gainesville assistant should have prearranged fee.
1 79 1945 Jan. 26. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May (ms. note added). 5 p. Chet Crosby recommends Scruggs to her. Told Chet some things in hopes they will get back to T.Z. and Zelma. Feels Zelma will plan revenge if she loses case. Chet recommends a witness and said that Kate Walton is more to blame.
1 80 1945 Jan.11. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Termites made dust of income tax return. Going to visit Norton's mother.
1 81 1945 Jan. 10. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. She is going to visit Norton's mother after income tax in. Asks if people in armed service can be subpoenaed.
1 82 1944 Dec. 30. Hawthorn. TLS to Philip May. 1 p. Has sent him a greeting from T.Z. for filing. Grieved to hear about Phil, Jr.
1 83 1944 Dec. 28. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. (Ms. note added). 1 p. Thinks his Christmas gift will finally come. He has not received his petition for rehearing. Got a hypocritical Christmas card from T.Z.
1 84 1944 Dec. 5. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 1 p. She has received a request for a Polish translation of Cross Creek. She wants to emphasize "general public" interest.
1 85 1944 Dec. 4. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Goes over reasons why she doesn't believe she has invaded Zelma's privacy. Also, reasons for wanting to avoid a trial.
1 86 1944 Nov. 27. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Thinks will not have difficulty proving her point in a trial. Quotes a letter of Dr. Thomas Barbour.
1 87 [1944 Nov.?] Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 1 p. Tells him to quote her on statement to A.P. Believes that judges showed great justice in voting for a trial.
1 88 1944 May 19. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. She is full of anxiety concerning some bad happenings and Norton's safety. A friend asked her about suit as Zelma told him that MKR had settled already.
1 89 1944 Feb. 5. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Writes him a quotation from a book which she felt could have won the case for them.
1 90 1944 Jan. 20. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Discusses book sales and royalties of Cross Creek and Book of the Month Club.
1 91 1944 Jan. 16. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 1 p. Thought his wanting distribution figures on her book may something to do with public ownership. Encloses crossword puzzle in which "Yearling" included to show point.
1 92 1944 Jan. 12. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Explains her feeling in writing about Zelma when she included her in story of her life. Explanation in answer to questions by him.
1 93 [1944 Jan. 10] Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 1 p. Forwarding a clipping from the Cleveland Plain Dealer which she doesn't want him to lose.
1 94 1944 Jan. 5. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 3 p. There are no alternative solutions to Zelma and T.Z. problem. Principle involved. She has suffered much punishment already.
1 95 1944 Jan. 2. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 6 p. Tells how Zelma aided her in collecting material for Florida sketches and how she acted as supporter and mediator regarding these stories.
1 96 1943 Dec. 12. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Feels he should change a point in his brief regarding her characterization of Zelma. If it should come to trial, he should have the character information.
1 97 1943 Nov. 28. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 1 p. Invites May and his wife to spend the night with her.
1 98 1943 Nov.1. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Tells history of Christmas gifts taken to Zelma and mother before suit.
1 99 1943 Oct. 24. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 5 p. Believes she should not settle out of court. She feels fan letters from service men are invaluable. Discusses possibility of Zelma having to prove she was the character mentioned in Cross Creek. Feels Zelma brought notice to herself. Hopes Supreme Court will dismiss.
1 100 1943 Oct. 2. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 1 p. Comments on "T.Z.'s surprise piece of hypocrisy." Felt he could stop suit any time. Norton in India.
1 101 1943 Sept. 1. Cross Creek. TLS to Phil May. 3 p. Tells why she feels greed rather than feeling is Zelma's motive. Tells how Zelma belittled a lady of good standing in the community. Her ex-brother-in-law will be glad to testify.
1 102 1943 August 18. Crescent Beach. TLS to Phil May. (Ms. note added). 3 p. Mistaken about name of lady riding with Zelma when she anounced her plans for spending her fortune. Dr. Cason playing up to Chet Crosby. Wondering if Judge Murphree's decision had anything to do with it. Crosby gave her some information in cast the suit goes further.
1 103 1943 Aug. 11. Crescent Beach. TLS to Phil May. 3 p. Asks if it is usual for a judge to point out how a case may be carried further. Verle Pope anxious to help. Relates anecdote concerning Zelma. Hopes case dies now.
1 104 1943 July 6. New York. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Wire came for Norton from American Field Service to report in New York. Thinks he ought to get a statement for Dessie before she moves.
1 105 1943 June 20. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 10 p. Been in Alabama. Brings up two points that she feels have not been considered in the law suit. Discusses them.
1 106 1943 May 20. St. Augustine. TLS to Phil May. 3 p. Wendell Willkie and friends spent weekend with her and related information that he thought should be passed on to her lawyer. Relates Judge Jackson's comments concerning Zelma.
1 107 1943 April 10. Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Talks of two people who have aligned themselves with her side and why. The death of Fred Tompkins a blow. She feels Zelma paranoiac. Rumor of settlement offer form Zelma mentioned. Discusses April 20th hearing.
1 108 1943 Feb. 15. New York. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Believes two enclosed pieces of mail are valuable to the case. Asks him to choose judges. She is in New York for operation.
1 109 1943 Feb. 12. St. Augustine. Baskin, Norton. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. Confirms information on Norton's hotel and personal matters. He is going to New York for MKR's operation.
1 110 1943 Feb. 5. St. Augustine. TLS to Phil May. 9 p. Discusses fully certain parts of Zelma's declaration and why she feels it is untrue. She names certain people who have told her stories about Zelma and who may be willing to testify.
1 111 1943 Jan. 13. St. Augustine. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. She gives information as to residence and property holdings of herself and Norton. Not willing to make a payoff.
1 112 1943 Jan. 8. St. Augustine. Telegram to Phil May. Will be at his office for a conference at 11:00 AM tomorrow.
1 113 1943 Jan. 4. Island Grove. Telegram to Phil May. If he can't locate copy of Cleveland editorial, she will bring another when she comes for a conference on Monday.
1 114 [1943] Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. Thinks his comments to Judge Murphree engaging. Sorry couldn't get together, as Norton must leave for New York, and she will accompany.
1 115 [n.d.] Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 1 p. Uneasy about "Widow Slater," if Zelma made progress. Fees worries unfounded and encloses her letter.
1 116 [n.d.] Hawthorn. TLS to Phil May. 2 p. She wants news of suit. Feels Zelma broadcasting name to the world. She presents two new angles on Zelma's character given her by Chet Crosby.


Correspondence from Philip May to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, 1943-1949


Box Folder
2 117 1949 Feb. 9 - 1948 Jan. 6. 21 letters.
2 118 1947 Dec. 18 - 1947 Jan. 3. 32 letters, primarily typed copies. Includes letter from MKR to May, attached to copy of 1947 Oct. 11 letter from May, telegrams, one bill to May from Western Union (1947 May 24), and copy of letter from G.B. Knowles to MKR (1947 Jan. 30).
2 119 1946 Nov. 20 - 1946 Jan. 3. 38 letters, primarily typed copies. Includes letters from Scruggs and Carmichael (1946 Aug 24) to Phil May and an invoice to MKR.
2 120 1945 Dec. 17 - 1945 Jan. 6. 40 letters, primarily typed copies. Includes letter from Margaret Mitchell, 1945 June 11, telegrams to Phil May from MKR (1945 March 9 and March 1), and telephone message form Norton Baskin to Phil May (1945 Jan. 26)
2 121 1944 Dec. 29 - 1943 Jan. 7. 50 items, primarily typed copies and telegrams to MKR. Includes telegram form MKR tp Phil May (1944 Nov. 27, Sept. 8) and invoices to MKR.


Other Correspondence, 1943-1947


Box Folder
2 122-147 1949 Feb. 2 - 1946 May 31. Other correspondence from the files of Phil May relating to Cason vs. Baskin. The inclusive dates for each folder is included in the typed finding guide in the Department of Special Collections.
3 148-167 1946 April 1 - 1943 June 23. Continuation of other correspondence from the files of Phil May relating to Cason vs. Baskin. The inclusive dates for each folder is included in the typed finding guide in the Department of Special Collections.
3 168 1947 Feb 11. Fan letters received by MKR and used as evidence in Cason vs. Baskin (Letter from Cliff Lyons; Chapel Hill, 6 p.)
3 169 1946 June 5. Fan letters received by MKR and used as evidence in Cason vs. Baskin
3 170 1945 Jan. - Dec. Fan letters received by MKR and used as evidence in Cason vs. Baskin (Includes manuscript "Florida -- an Affectionate Tribute," from MKR.)
3 171 1944 Jan. - Dec. Fan letters received by MKR and used as evidence in Cason vs. Baskin
3 172 1943 Jan. - Dec. Fan letters received by MKR and used as evidence in Cason vs. Baskin
3 173 1942 Jan. - July. Fan letters received by MKR and used as evidence in Cason vs. Baskin (Includes letters from Perry Patterson. Cf. correspondence from Julia Scribner Bigham.)
3 174 1942 Aug. - Dec. Fan letters received by MKR and used as evidence in Cason vs. Baskin
3 175 [n.d.] Fan letters received by MKR and used as evidence in Cason vs. Baskin


Trial Proceedings (Trial 1) (Files of Phil May)

The preparatory material is labeled Trial 1. Actually there was no first trial, only preparation for it. There was a hearing on April 20, 1943. The case went out on demurrer of error (March, 1943). This was appealed to the Supreme Court (1st appeal, Nov. 1944). The Supreme Court ruled that there was cause for a trial and there should be one. A trial was held (Trial 2) that Mrs. Marjorie Rawlings Baskin, the defendant won. The case was again appealed (2nd Appeal, Fall, 1946) and the decision was reversed in favor of the plaintiff, Miss Cason. Rehearing was denied (Feb. 1947). An opinion was rendered on May 23, 1947, and a rehearing was denied in June, 1947.


Box Folder
4 1 Preparatory Material - Facts #1.
4 2 Preparatory Material - Facts #2.
4 3 Preparatory Material - Right of Privacy #1.
4 4 Preparatory Material - Right of Privacy #2.
4 5 Preparatory Material - Right of Privacy #3, Libel, and Slander.
4 6 Preparatory Material - Literary Evidence (Profanity)
4 7 Preparatory Material Preparatory Material - Related Cases.
4 8 Preparatory Material - Hearsay Rule (1st and 2nd Trial).


Trial Proceedings - 1st Appeal (Files of Phil May)


Box Folder
5 9 Preparatory Material, 1st Supreme Court Brief and Appeal.
5 10 Supreme Court Transcript of Record, Appellants Brief, 1st Appeal.
5 11 Supreme Court Records, 1st Appeal.
5 12 First Opinion and Petition for Rehearing.


Trial Proceedings - 2nd Trial (Files of Phil May)


Box Folder
5 13 Preparatory Material, 2nd Trial.
5 14 Transcript of Record.
5 15 Transcript of Testimony, Vol. I-II.
5 16 Transcript of Testimony, Vol. III.
5 17 Memoranda.
5 18 Phil May Correspondence (includes letter from MKR, 11 Nov. 1946)


Trial Proceedings - 2nd Appeal and General (Files of Phil May)


Box Folder
6 19 Preparatory Material, 2nd Appeal.
6 20 Supreme Court Records: Transcript of Record. Brief for Appellees, etc., 2nd Appeal.
6 21 Supreme Court Records, 2nd Appeal.
6 22 Trial Briefs and Pleadings - Both Trials.
6 23 Various Documents Relating to Case.
6 24 Expenses, Jan. 1944 - May 1947.
6 25 Duplicate Material.


Clippings and Publications

The following were apparently collected by Rawlings and her attorneys for use in the trial. Most of the original clippings were discarded, after photocopying, in April, 1999.


Box Folder
7 1 Newspaper Clippings Relating to the Trial, 9 Feb. 1941 - 9 August 1948. (This item was listed In both the finding guide for the MKR Papers [Cf. Ser. 3, Box 7] and Cason v. Baskin. Provenance is uncertain.)
7 2 Cross Creek Book Reviews, 1938 - April, 1942 and [n.d.]
7 3 Cross Creek Book Reviews, 1942, May, - 1945, November.
7 4 Yearling (film) articles, June, 1941 - Feb., 1945.
7 5 Yearling (film) articles, Sept., 1945 - Feb., 1947 and [n.d.]
7 6 Clippings, mostly relating to public appearances, honors and awards, and MKR as a celebrity, Feb.1941 - Dec. 1945.
7 7 Clippings, mostly relating to public appearances, honors and awards, and MKR as a celebrity, Jan. 1946 - Sept. 1946, and [n.d.]


Rawlings' Notes and Miscellaneous Records


Box Folder
8 1 ALS from Phil May to MKR; [n.d.] re: bill from the Waltons. Motion for Clarification of Opinion and Mandate to the Supreme Court of Florida by Walton and Walton [1944?]
8 2 History of the Case [Plaintiff's Brief, Dec. 1943?] 42 p.
8 3 Demurrer to Declaration, Motion to Strike, and Plea by Defendants.
8 4 Petition for Rehearing, Appeal, Jan. 1947, Initial Brief of Appellant, and autograph and typed notes on the case by MKR.
8 5 Interrogatories and Answers of the Plaintiff and Defendants.
8 6 Brief for Appellees in the Supreme Court of Florida.
8 7 Trial Verdict, 1946;List of Monies Paid by Scruggs and Carmichael, and Copy of telegram advising that the Supreme Court has reversed judgment in Cason. V. Baskin.
8 8 Digest of MKR's Testimony, "Facts," Digest of Witnesses' Testimony
8 9 Deposition of Mrs. A. N. Slater, May 15, 1946.
8 10 Deposition of Certain Witnesses; New York, Jan. 16, 1946. Two copies, each with different notes.
8 11 Photocopies of typed documents from folders 1-4. (Does not include MKR's notes)
8 12 Copy of Cross Creek, filed in evidence in the Alachua County Circuit Court, /s/ Marjorie Kinnan Baskin, 13 March 1946. From Alachua County Court Records. Cf. Box 9.
8 13 Cason vs. Baskin. Outline of Defendant's Brief for the Supreme Court, typed ms. 3 p. This item was received with the Oliver accession (1998) of MKR-NB correspondence.


Alachua County Circuit Court Records


Box Folder
9 1 Transcript of Testimony, volume I.
9 2 Transcript of Testimony, volume II.
9 3 Transcript of Testimony, volume III.
9 4 Defendants' Exhibits (Includes an excerpt from the NY Herald Tribune Books that has been photocopied).
9 5 Deposition of James R. Peters, 12 April 1946. Defendants' Exhibit #9.
9 6 Deposition of Ida M. Tarrant, 30 March 1945, Defendants' Exhibit #14.
9 7 Circuit Court, Alachua County. Cason v. Baskin records, from Plaintiff's Declaration, 1 Feb. 1943 Final Judgment, 9 August 1948.
9 8 Judge A. H. Murphree's File and Notes of Cason v. Baskin.


Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Cason, Zelma, 1890-1963.
Freedom of speech -- Florida.
Libel and slander -- Florida.
Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan, 1896-1953.
Trials (Libel) -- Florida.



For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

University of Florida Home Page