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Annie Fellows Johnston Collection

 Collection — Container: 1
Identifier: BCA 0197 HC 22

Scope and Contents

Materials consist of an unpublished manuscript and related correspondence of Johnston.

Materials include a draft of an unfinished novel, A Mountain Mailbag, which was based on Johnston's experiences during several visits to Berea, Kentucky around 1919. The manuscript (ca. 150 pages) has handwritten and typewritten sections accompanied by notes which detail her development of the novel's characters and storyline.

Also included in the collection are two Johnston letters to Berea College librarian, Florence H. Ridgway, which contain an outline of A Mountain Mailbag and references to persons at Berea on whom certain characters were based. The manuscript and correspondence were given to Berea College in 1955 by Mrs. Johnston's stepdaughter, Mary G. Johnston, who also provided transcriptions from Johnston's diary (12 pp., 1919) concerning visits to Berea and to Hindman, Kentucky.

Other materials added to the collection by Berea College library staff include a photograph, assorted clippings on Johnston, her writing, and the gift of the manuscript to Berea College, along with copies of several letters from Hindman. The latter include a letter of May Stone, Settlement School co-founder, to Johnston (1920), and several letters of Hindman student Flora Ritchie in whom Johnston apparently was interested as a model for a character in her book.


  • Created: 1917-1955


Conditions Governing Access

Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no known restrictions on the collection other than federal copyright regulations. Please cite all references to this collection.


1.00 ms_boxes

Language of Materials



Annie Fellows Johnston, born in 1863 in Evansville, Indiana, was a popular children's author around the turn of the 20th century.  Johnston wrote the popular Little Colonel series, which was the basis for the 1935 Shirley Temple film The Little Colonel.  Most of the characters in Johnston’s' semi-biographical works were based on actual people, places and experiences.  For the Little Colonel Series, Johnston fictionalized Pewee Valley, Kentucky, just outside Louisville, as Lloydsborough Valley. In 1920, while writing a Kentucky mountain storybook, Johnston was overtaken by an illness from which she never fully recovered.  The storybook, A Mountain Mailbag, was never finished.  In 1954, this manuscript was given to Berea College by Johnston’s daughter, Mary G. Johnston, and other heirs.  This gift is particularly fitting as the principle characters are two mountain youth who came from “deep in the hills” to attend a school modeled after Berea College. Annie Fellows Johnston passed away on October 5, 1931 in Pewee Valley, Kentucky.

Other Descriptive Information

Collection Number: BCA 0197 HC 22

Processing Information

The finding aid was created in March 2014 by Lori Myers-Steele, Project Archivist. The box list was created by student assistant Katie L. Roath. Boxlist updated July 2019 by Lori Myers-Steele.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Lori Myers-Steele
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Berea College Special Collections and Archives Repository

Hutchins Library
100 Campus Drive
Berea Kentucky 40404 US