Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Charlotte Painter Papers, 1955-1992
Special Collections M0619  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (136.61 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope Note
  • Charlotte Painter's Published Works
  • Access Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Charlotte Painter Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1955-1992
    Collection number: Special Collections M0619
    Creator: Painter, Charlotte.
    Extent: 3.75 linear ft.
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.


    Gift of Charlotte Painter, 1992.

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item] Charlotte Painter Papers, M0619, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Biographical Note

    Charlotte Painter was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1926. She received her Bachelors Degree in Theater from Louisiana State University in 1947. From 1956 to 1960, she rose to Senior Editor at The Macmillan Publishing Company in New York. Having received a Masters of Arts in English from Stanford in 1965, Painter taught creative writing at Stanford until 1969, and at the University of Califonia, at Berkeley, at Davis, and at Santa Cruz in the 1960s and early 1970s. From 1975, she taught intermittantly at San Francisco State University until she received tenure in 1988. She retired in the Spring of 1991.
    Painter's first short story appeared in The New Yorker in 1955. She finished her first novel, The Fortunes of Laurie Breaux, in 1961, and subsequently, won a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in the Stanford Creative Writing Program for the academic year 1961-1962. After completing her fellowship, she left California to join her husband Thomas Earl Voorhees (M.A. in Anthropology from Stanford) in Nashville, Tennessee where Voorhees taught at Vanderbilt University. Painter survived the isolation of being pregnant in an unfamiliar city by keeping a diary which she published in 1965 as Who Made the Lamb. The summer after Painter and Voorhees left Nashville, in June 1963, Voorhees drowned, leaving Painter a widow and a single mother of an infant son.
    With the support of subsequent fellowships, Painter pursued her writing vigorously after her husband's death. She published Who Made the Lamb in 1965, Confessions from the Malaga Madhouse in 1971, Revelations: Diaries of Women in 1975, Seeing Things in 1976, numerous shortstories and poems, and Gifts of Age in 1985.
    Her books addressed the issues closest to her heart: motherhood and women's struggle between the isolation of traditional female roles and the loneliness of the fight for social equality. Painter advocated the autobiography, and its preliminary form, the diary, as a means by which to illuminate the universal secrets of life. In 1965, Painter shared her own diary. Then, she and Mary Jane Moffat paid tribute to the literary genre of the diary with Revelations: Diaries of Women in 1974 for revealing the long neglected histories of women.
    Painter's work reflects West Coast literary world of the 1960s and 1970s, which challenged the publishing establishment of New York City. In her interview with Joan Henriksen, she dismissed the New York publishers as far behind everything that's the best in writing today. ( St.Louis Dispatch, November 28, 1971.)
    Painter's work, nevertheless, withstood the tests of time. In the 1980s, Seeing Things and Who Made the Lamb were republished. As she wrote in the foreword of the 1988 edition of Who Made the Lamb, many of the issues raised in the 1960s, like single motherhood, abortion, and women's right to equality, still challange American society decades later.

    Scope Note

    The Charlotte Painter papers, including manuscripts, reviews of her books and correspondence, are arranged around the publication of her major works, preserving her own organization. A bibliography of Painter's work has been included at the beginning of this guide. An alphabetical list of correspondents follows the list of correspondents so that letters may be located easily within this collection.
    Series I includes Painter's own professional files, maintained in the same order in which she presented them to the Library. Box 1, folders 1-6 contain the files which Painter prepared for her application for tenure at San Francisco State University. The remaining folders contain additional material pertaining to her career as a writer and educator. Material about her lectures and reviews of others may be found in this series as well. Where duplicate sets of files existed, they were discarded; however, if they had distinguishing notes, they were filed with their match.
    Series II, the heart of the collection, is organized by each of her major book titles in the order in which they were published. For each title, except Revelations; Diaries of Women (for which papers are limited), there are folders for: correspondence relating to that work; reviews of and promotions for that publication; Royalty Statements (if available); and Painter's notes. The manuscripts and galley proofs are stored separately in oversized manuscript boxes. Occasionally, extensive correspondence with one individual is grouped separately to preserve the integrity of that relationship, but otherwise the letters are arranged chronologically. Refer to the List of Correspondents to identify the placement of specific letters.
    Series III is comprised of material relating to Painter's short stories, her unpublished works, her essays, her speaking engagements, as well as miscellaneous correspondence that does not pertain directly to a particular work.
    Series IV contains 20 audio cassettes of Charlotte Painter's interviews with the women she included in Gifts of Age. Refer to the guide to identify the location of a particular interview. A video of Joan Merrill's interview of Charlotte Painter and Mary Jane Moffat, co-authors of Revelations: Diaries of Women, is also included.
    Finally, in Series V, some of Painter's manuscripts and galley proofs are stored in an Oversized Boxes 5-11.


    NOTE: * - Indicates that the Collection contains a copy of the work.

    Charlotte Painter's Published Works


    The Fortunes of Laurie Breaux (Little, Brown & Co., 1962)
    Confession from the Malaga Madhouse (Dial Press, 1971)
    Seeing Things (Random House, 1976; Garden Books, 1984)

    Non-Fiction Books

    Who Made the Lamb (McGraw Hill, 1965; Creative Arts Book Co., 1988)
    Revelations; Diaries of Women (ed. with Mary Jane Moffat; Random House, 1974; Vintage, 1975)
    Gifts of Age; 32 Remarkable Women (with Pamela Valois; Chronicle Books, 1985)

    Short Stories

    *The Reprieve ( The New Yorker, February 5, 1955)
    Cookie Crumbles ( San Francisco Chronicle, February 1962)
    *The Sisters ( Redbook, Vol. 121, No. 6, 1963)
    Bye Lena ( Massachusetts Review, Vol.III. No. 2, 1967)
    At Tepeyac: 1532 A.D. ( Western Review, Vol.5, No.1 (Summer 1968))
    Sandbox ( Massachusetts Review, Vol.IX, No.4 (Autumn 1968))
    *Exposure ( Mediterranean Review, Vol I, No.1, 1972)
    *Madhouse ( Place Magazine, Vol.I, No.2, 1972)
    Parents ( Foothill Quarterly, Vol.I, No.3, 1978)
    Home Movie ( San Francisco Stories, Vol.I, No.2, 1980)
    The Kill ( Hawaii Review, Spring, 1981)
    *Memory Loss ( The Available Press, Ballantine Books, 1985)
    Sunny (PEN Syndicated Fiction Project, 1983-1984)
    The Ark ( California Quarterly, Spring, 1981)


    Last Breath ( San Francisco State University MAGAZINE, Vol.I, No.2, 1985)
    Renovation ( San Francisco State University MAGAZINE, Vol.I, No.2, 1985)
    The Visiting Poet of Great Charm ( The Iowa Review, 1981; Extended Outlooks, Vol.12, No.2/3, University of Iowa Press, 1982)
    In the Desert ( Correspondence, Lausanne, Switzerland, Vol.II, 1983)
    Elegy ( In the Midst of Winter, Random House, 1983)
    Mother Rat ( Kalliope; A Journal of Women's Art, Vol.V, No.1, 1983)
    Blue Lake ( New Mexico's Humanities Review, Vol.I, No.3, (September, 1978)
    Olmec Woman ( Yardbird Reader #2, Yardbird Publishing, 1973; Yardbird Lives, Grove Press, 1978)
    Lost Lady ( Gathered from the Center, Berkeley Women's Center, 1975)
    Vessels (Twelve Poems, a text for a film for the National Center for Experiments in Television, 1975)
    Ninos Heroes ( Yardbird Reader #2, Yardbird Publishing, 1973)
    Scenes From Mt. Everett ( Place Magazine, Vol.II, 1973)
    Charlie Nothing ( Place Magazine, Vol.II, 1973)

    Book Condensation

    * Who Made the Lamb ( Ladies Home Journal, Vol.LXXXI, No.10 (October, 1966)


    In Celebration of Older Women, ( New Directions for Women, January/February, 1986)
    In Praise of Older Women, ( Focus Magazine, October, 1965)
    Gifts of Age, ( This World, November 3, 1985)
    On Janet Frame's An Angel at My Table, (San Francisco Chronicle, September 30, 1984)
    On Ruth Stone, ( Extended Outlooks, The Iowa Review Collection of Contemporary Women Writers, The Macmillan Company, 1985)
    *The Maime Papers, (Review of work edited by Maimie Pinzer, Biography, Vol.II, No.4 (Fall, 1979)) [Manuscript only]
    Psychic Bi-sexuality, ( Revelations: Diaries of Women, Random House, 1974)
    What God Hath Roth, ( The Nation, November 6, 1972)
    *Perfect Day Care for Tommy, ( Ladies Home Journal, Vol.VXXXIII, No.10 (October 10, 1966)

    Anthologies Containing Work

    Pulling Our Own Strings (Edited by Kaufman and Blakely, Indiana University Press, 1984)
    Black and White in American Culture (Edited by Jules Chametzky and Sidney Kaplan, University of Massachusetts Press, 1969; Viking, 1971)

    Access Terms

    Baez, Joan.
    Baez, Joan, 1913.
    Boyle, Kay, 1902-
    Carver, Raymond.
    Child, Julia.
    Fielding, Dawson, 1930.
    Davies, Louise.
    Fisher, M.F.K., (Mary Frances Kennedy), 1908-.
    Guerard, Albert J., (Albert Joseph), 1914.
    Hayes, Margaret Calder, 1896.
    Henriksen, Joan.
    Houston, James D.
    Huckle, Patricia, 1937.
    Janeway, Elizabeth.
    Krim, Seymour, 1922.
    Moffat, Mary Jane.
    Nin, Anaïs, 1903-1977.
    Nissenson, Hugh.
    Olsen, Tillie.
    Read, Herbert Edward, Sir, 1893-1968.
    Robertson, Carolyn.
    Scowcroft, Richard.
    Sommers, Tish.
    Dial Press.
    Harper & Row Publishers.
    Little Brown and Company.
    Macmillan Publishing Company.
    McGraw Publishing Company.
    PEN Syndicated Fiction Project.
    Random House (Firm).
    Yolla Bolly Press.
    American Literature--20th century.
    American Poetry--20th century.
    Women and literature.
    Women authors.
    Women college teachers.
    Aged women.
    Women authors--San Francisco Bay Area (Calif).
    Authors and publishers.
    San Francisco.
    Bay Area.
    Galley proofs.
    Manuscripts (for publication).
    Reviews (Criticism).
    Video tapes.