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Ralph Hammond Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-0614

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the life and career of Alabama political secretary and poet laureate Ralph Hammond (1916-2010). The Ralph Hammond Papers are divided into three series.

The Personal Materials Series contains correspondence, clippings, some photographs, and other items related to Hammond’s time as a correspondent during World War II. The series also contains general documents and memorabilia, including articles about various subjects of interest to Hammond, books, biographical material, and a file of transcribed correspondence between Hammond and author Nelle Harper Lee.

The Governor's Office Materials Series includes correspondence, legislative documents, speeches, photographs, negatives, clippings, campaign materials, souvenirs, maps, recordings, and other items collected by Ralph Hammond during the eight-year administration of Alabama governor James ("Big Jim") E. Folsom (1947-1950, 1955-1959). Some materials also cover Folsom's family life and his later years, including his unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of 1962.

The Writings Series includes newspaper columns, short stories, poems, and hymns written by Hammond; as well as research materials, photographs of buildings and landmarks throughout the state of Alabama, clippings, and correspondence related to Hammond’s 1951 book Antebellum Mansions of Alabama. Much of the correspondence concerns Rosemount Mansion, in Greene County. The series also contains correspondence, writing samples, and other material documenting the compilation of Alabama Poets: An Anthology (1990), which Hammond edited.

Many of the materials in the collection are oversize, including galley proofs, maps, floor plans, and a flag from the Alabama governor’s office. Further details can be found in the Scope and Contents notes for each series and subseries.

Dates

  • 1815-2008

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English. A few items of correspondence are in French.

Conditions Governing Access

Portions of the collection are open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Patrons may not use cell phone cameras or any other recording devices when accessing restricted portions of this collection. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Access to and use of materials that were created by Nelle Harper Lee in this collection require written permission from the Lee estate. University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections staff will not photocopy or digitize letters written by Nelle Harper Lee without written permission from the Lee estate. For information contact The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections staff at archives@ua.edu.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to and use of materials that were created by Nelle Harper Lee in this collection require written permission from the Lee estate. University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections staff will not photocopy or digitize letters written by Nelle Harper Lee without written permission from the Lee estate. Patrons may not use cell phone cameras or any other recording devices when accessing restricted portions of this collection. For information contact The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections staff at archives@ua.edu.

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections staff at archives@ua.edu with questions regarding specific manuscript collections. For more information about copyright policy, please visit: https://www.ua.edu/copyright/. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which The University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Ralph Hammond was born on February 1, 1916, in Valley Head, Alabama. He attended Snead Junior College in Alabama and spent his junior year of 1940-1941 at Berea College, Kentucky, before being drafted into the US Army. He served as a war correspondent in Europe during World War II. After the war, he returned to the United States and finished college at The University of Alabama. While there, he worked on the Crimson White newspaper and the Rammer Jammer magazine with fellow student Nelle Harper Lee, later author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Hammond’s first book, My GI Aching Back (1946), was an account of his war experiences. Hammond graduated from The University of Alabama in 1946 with a degree in political science. He served as press secretary and speechwriter during the administration of two-term Alabama Governor James (“Big Jim”) E. Folsom (1947-1951; 1955-1959). Hammond was active on the Alabama Travel Council in the 1950s and wrote all of Folsom’s messages to the legislature, acting as chief of staff for Folsom’s final two years in office. Hammond married Myra Leak Porter--who worked for Folsom’s wife Jamelle--on June 20, 1954. The Hammonds had two sons, Ben and James. The family settled in Arab, Alabama. Hammond served as mayor of Arab from 1963-1969. While researching his book Antebellum Mansions of Alabama (1951), Hammond traveled around the state taking photographs of historic sites. Thirty-four of his photographs, later used in the book, were displayed at the Montgomery Museum of Art. He also helped Rosemount Mansion owner Frances de Vesci seek a buyer for the historic Greene County home. Between the 1980s and early 2000s, Hammond wrote over fifteen books of poetry, including One Golden Apple a Day (1982), a collection of devotional poems for each day of the year; the award-winning Edging through the Grass (1985) and Upper Alabama—Poems Out of Light (1991); Vincent Van Gogh: A Narrative Journey (1997); and Personal Encounters (2001), inspired by Hammond’s meetings with literary figures he interviewed during his time as a correspondent. Hammond served as Poet Laureate of Alabama from 1992 to 1995. Ralph Hammond died on December 10, 2010.

Extent

41 Linear Feet

Abstract

Ralph Hammond was the author of numerous books, press secretary to Alabama governor James ("Big Jim") Folsom, and poet laureate of Alabama from 1992 to 1995. This collection contains clippings, correspondence, legislative documents, recordings, photographs, negatives, poetry, memorabilia, and other items related to his activities, including a large number of materials about the Folsom administration and about antebellum mansions in Alabama.

Arrangement

File names and series were created following the donor's original file titles and categories for the materials.

Physical Location

These materials are stored at our off-site Archival Facility (AF) and may require up to two business days for retrieval and delivery for use in our Hoole Library reading room. Please email archives@ua.edu or call 205-348-0500 for more information.

Provenance

Gift of Ralph Hammond, 1993-2010.

Related Materials

Books by Ralph Hammond may be found in the Alabama Collection, the Wade Hall Collection, and the Rucker Agee Collection within The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections.

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Ryan, 2018. Assisted by Hannah Pryor.

The thirty-four Antebellum Mansions Display Photographs in Boxes 0614.058-60 were originally processed and described by Marina Klarić in 2014.

The Folsom Photographs in Box 0614.060 were originally processed and described by Marina Klarić in 2015.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Ralph Hammond Papers, 1815-2008
Status
Completed
Author
Erin Ryan
Date
January 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266
205.348.0500