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Martha Young papers

Identifier: MSS-1597

Scope and Contents note

The collection spans the period from 1818 (a document naming Elisha Young as a member of the Graham Philanthropic Society of Washington College) to 1977 (a map of Greensboro, Alabama) and is chiefly made up of the works, both published and unpublished, of Martha Young of Greensboro, Alabama.

The collection contains a limited amount of correspondence dating from 1885 through 1935 (arranged chronologically) and a good deal of genealogical information on her grandfather, Dr. Henry Tutwiler, her aunt, Julia Strudwick Tutwiler, and the Tutwiler and Young families.

The bulk of the material consists primarily of copies of Martha Young's novels, short stories and poetry. Most are typescript or clipped from magazines and newspapers and while some are dated, others are not. There are a few handwritten pieces. Depending on the series, these materials are arranged chronologically by date of publication or alphabetically by the title of the work.

The collection also contains several legal documents, photographs, pen and ink drawings, watercolors, maps and information about the Greene Springs School founded by Martha Young's grandfather, Dr. Henry Tutwiler.


  • 1867-1977


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical/Historical note

Martha Strudwick Young was born in Newbern, Hale County, Alabama, on January 11, 1862 to Dr. Elisha Young and Eliza Ashe (Tutwiler) Young. The family moved to Greensboro, Alabama, when she was a young child. She was the granddaughter of Henry Tutwiler and the niece of Julia Tutwiler.

Her early education began at the Greensboro Female Academy and the Greene Springs School (founded by her grandfather, Dr. Tutwiler). When she finished there, she enrolled at Tuscaloosa Female Academy, but transferred to Livingston Female Academy (later known as Livingston University and now as the University of West Alabama) when Julia Tutwiler became co-principal. She graduated from Livingston about 1880.

After graduation, Young returned to Greensboro, Alabama and divided her time between her family, her church, and her writing. Her first published story, "A Nurse's Tale," appeared in the New Orleans Times-Democrat in December, 1884 under the pseudonym, Eli Shepperd. She used this 'nom-de-plume' until her first book, Plantation Songs, was published in 1901. (See Series for complete lists of writings in this collection.)

Young was most widely known for her African American dialect poems and stories. Her dialect stories were frequently compared to the works of Joel Chandler Harris, the creator of "Uncle Remus." In addition to her writings, she traveled extensively in the United States, conducting public lectures and readings of her works. She died at home in Greensboro on May 9, 1941.


2.6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection contains many of the works, both published and unpublished, many in the dialect of Southern African Americans, written by Martha Young of Greensboro, Alabama, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, as well as correspondence, photographs and pictures, genealogical information on the Tutwiler and Young families, and other miscellaneous items. Martha Young was the granddaughter of Henry Tutwiler and niece of Julia Tutwiler.


Gift of Mrs. Nan Pennington Rogers and Mrs. Norman True, 1987

Processed by

Lorie Kubiszyn, 1982; reformatted by Catherine Eddins, 2002; updated by Martha Bace, 2009
Guide to the Martha Young Papers
June 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266