Skip to Search

A Guide to the Emmett Peter, Jr. Papers

Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
August 2004

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Peter, Emmett B., Jr., 1919-1994
Title: Emmett Peter, Jr. Papers
Dates: 1895-1993
Bulk dates: 1954-1969
Abstract: The papers of Emmett Peter, Jr. primarily relate to his biographical research and writings on the Virginia author, James Branch Cabell.
Extent: 0.8 Linear feet. 2 boxes.
Identification: MS Group 153
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Journalist and author. Emmett B. Peter, Jr. was born in Leesburg, Florida, on November 19, 1919. He studied journalism and history at Emory University before transferring to Stetson University in Deland to study English literature and political science. He quit school in his junior year to become editor of the Eustis Lake Region News, which he bought in 1940 and published until his enlistment in the Air Force in 1942.

Peter continued his career in journalism in 1947 as editor and co-publisher of the Lake County Citizen and the Leesburg Leader. Over the next forty years, he held various editorial and columnist positions for several publications, including the Tampa Tribune, the Lakeland Ledger, the Detroit Free Press, the Orlando Sentinel, and the Daily Commercial in Leesburg. He was a charter member of the Florida Society of Editors and twice served as its president.

Peter was the author of several "New Republic" articles pertaining to racism and rural poverty, a pictorial history of Lake County, and short stories in "Florida Review," "Other Voices," and "Carolina Quarterly." As a longtime researcher and biographer of James Branch Cabell, he was also the author of several published and unpublished writings on the Southern writer. He died June 22, 1994.

Scope and Content

The papers of Emmett Peter, Jr. primarily relate to his biographical research and writings on the Virginia author, James Branch Cabell. The first series consists of correspondence and general files, including news clippings, writings about Cabell by other authors, as well as reproductions of Cabell's early writings. Correspondents include Margaret Cabell, Joe Lee Davis, William Godshalk, and the Cabell Society. Also included are reproductions of correspondence between Cabell and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

The second series is comprised of published and unpublished writings by Emmett Peter on Cabell. Of particular interest are the typescripts of Peter's unpublished Cabell biography entitled, The Gentle Rebel. In addition to a complete typescript of this work, there are several files containing fragments of earlier drafts and notes. Also included in this series is a published article by Peter entitled, "Cabell: The Making of a Rebel," as well as a bibliography created by John Bellamy and revised by Peter.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Emmett Peter, Jr. Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The Emmett Peter Papers were donated in 1996 by Melanie Peter, daughter of Emmett B. Peter, Jr.

Processing Notes

The collection donated by Melanie Peter in 1996 included approximately fifty books authored by or related to James Branch Cabell. These titles were separated from the Peter Papers and incorporated into the Department's Rare Book Collection. Several notebooks containing loose pages (primarily typescript fragments) were also included among the materials. These pages were removed from their notebooks and transferred to folders. Although the titles of these notebooks did not provide much information as to the nature of the contents, the titles were recorded on each folder accordingly.

Contents List

Correspondence and General Files, 1895-1993 and n.d.

1 Biographical Material - James Branch Cabell. n.d.
1 Cabell, Margaret - Correspondence. 1961-1971 and n.d.
1 Cabell Society. 1954-1968
1 Correspondence - Miscellaneous (including Colin Wilson, H.C. McCloy, J.G. Cozzens, Edmund Wilson, L.B. Gilkes, W.L. Gresham). 1960-1967
1 Correspondence regarding Cabell (including photocopies of Cabell letters), Peter "Notebook IV". 1919-1965
1 Davis, Joe Lee - Correspondence. 1968
1 Godshalk, William Leigh - Correspondence and Writings. 1967-1969
1 "Kalki," Studies in James Branch Cabell (publication). 1968
1 News Clippings. 1962-1993
1 Photograph of James Branch Cabell. n.d.
1 "The Reputation of James Branch Cabell," thesis by John Bellamy; and "Letters of Cabell to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings" (bound in 1 vol.). 1940-1954
1 William and Mary College Monthly, contributions of Cabell (bound volume). 1895-1898

Writings, 1961-1969 and n.d.

2 Cabell Bibliography by John Bellamy (revised by Peter) and Notes (from Peter "Cabell Index A-G" Notebook). 1961 and n.d.
2 Cabell college writing (fragments and duplicates). n.d.
2 "Cabell: The Making of a Rebel," by Peter, Carolina Quarterly. 1962
2 "The Gentle Rebel: A Biography of James Branch Cabell" by Emmett Peter, Jr. (typescript with corrections). n.d.
2 "The Gentle Rebel" typescript fragments, notes, and writings about Cabell (from Peter "Biographic" Notebook). n.d.
2 "James Branch Cabell: A Biography" by Emmett Peter (short typescript version of "The Gentle Rebel"). n.d.
2 Jurgen manuscript notes. n.d.
2 Notes (from Peter "Notebook V"). n.d.
2 Typescript fragments, The Gentle Rebel, and correspondence with William Godshalk. 1967 and n.d.
2 Typescript fragments, The Gentle Rebel, and notes. n.d.
2 Typescript fragments, The Gentle Rebel, and notes. n.d.
2 Typescript fragments, The Gentle Rebel, and notes (from Peter "Notebook I"). n.d.
2 Typescript fragments and notes. 1969 and n.d.
2 Typescript fragments and writings on Cabell (including "Cabell as a Comic Realist"). n.d.

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

University of Florida Home Page