Eudora Welty Digital Archives

The Eudora Welty Digital Archives features selections of correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and other media related to Eudora Welty (1909-2001), master of the short story and acknowledged as one of America's greatest authors. Most are from the Eudora Welty Collection (1882-2001), the premier source for Welty materials in the world, totaling more than 230 cubic feet and encompassing her entire life.

Digitization was funded by an implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities; with curatorial, administrative, and technical support from MDAH; and a matching contribution for conservation supplies and services from the Eudora Welty Foundation. The Eudora Welty Digital Archives represents only a sample of Welty-related material housed at MDAH. Non-digitized items may be accessed in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building. Additional information is located in the catalog record finding aids for the collections.

Collection Description General & Tech Data

Eudora Welty Collection Arrangement and Numbering

By 1985, Eudora Welty had donated approximately forty-eight c.f. of significant material including correspondence, manuscripts, and photographic negatives and prints, which warranted extensive processing and preservation. At that time, the material was arranged into thirty-seven series. The cataloged collection was described in The Welty Collection: A Guide to the Eudora Welty Manuscripts and Documents at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History by Suzanne Marrs (University Press of Mississippi, 1988). The overall series arrangement established in 1985 has been maintained, and when appropriate, Welty's later donations were integrated into one of the existing series to facilitate ease of intellectual access and research use. Additional series have been established in the Eudora Welty Collection, including the Welty Family Papers, manuscripts by others, and financial records, to accommodate categories of material for which no items had been previously obtained.

Correspondence and Manuscripts: A major change in the organizational scheme was the creation of subseries within the correspondence series. In the 1985 arrangement, the correspondence was in chronological order, with the letters by Welty mixed in with the correspondence she received from others. In the new order, there are four subseries: a) correspondence by Welty; b) selected correspondence to Welty (incoming correspondence written by literary colleagues, friends, and close associates); c) general correspondence to Welty (correspondence from admirers, and letters from institutions concerning professional activities), and d) correspondence and other papers created or received by correspondents of Welty.

Photographs: Originally, photographic negatives were contact printed and the prints arranged and numbered by theme. In the mid-1980s the negatives were rearranged by size (indicative of three cameras used by Welty during distinct periods, thereby establishing date ranges), and by geographic area; however, the negatives retained their original numbers. Later receipt of original negatives for images previously labelled "No Neg." and corrections to labels for images that had been misidentified resulted in the renumbering of some items. A number history appears with each photographic image in the Eudora Welty Digital Archives because the old, sometimes misleading, numbers have been cited for so many years. In the current system, they are referred to as "image numbers" rather than "negative numbers"; however, the change is, for the most part, semantic. The statement structure is as follows: "Previous negative no(s). [previous number(s)]; Current image number [current number]. Image titles in the Eudora Welty Digital Archives were formed from the first instance of a formal title or caption in a notable publication or exhibit. Alternate titles from additional notable sources are available in the catalog record. Otherwise, titles were supplied by the cataloger.

Selection Process

Digitization of selected manuscripts, letters written by Welty, photographs, and material complementary to the Eudora Welty Collection was funded by an implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities; with curatorial, administrative, and technical support from MDAH; and a matching contribution for conservation supplies and services from the Eudora Welty Foundation. Criteria for the selection of material for digitization included the level of interest from the public, the level of research interest from secondary and collegiate educators, a survey of American Literature and English textbooks, the fragility of the items, the clear ownership of intellectual rights, and the availability of related audiovisual materials. Digital files may be accessed through keyword search or by browsing within each series. Non-digitized materials in the Eudora Welty Collection are available in the William F. Winter Archives and History Building.

Technical Details

Digital Images: The original scans in the Eudora Welty Digital Archives were made by MDAH Image & Sound Section staff in 2019-2022, in accordance with Mississippi Department of Archives and History Board of Trustees' approved imaging procedures, following ANSI/AIIM recommended practice. Manuscripts, correspondence, and photographic prints were scanned as uncompressed, 24-bit RGB TIFF files at 600 pixels per inch. Black-and-white photographic negatives were scanned as uncompressed, 8-bit Grayscale TIFF files at 800 pixels per inch, enlarged by 250% for 4"x5" and 4"x3" negs., 300% for 2.5"x3.5" negs., and 400% for 2.5"x2.5" negs.

Image Conversion: To improve accessibility and protect the copyright interests of Eudora Welty, LLC, MDAH Electronic Archives staff converted the original TIFF files to watermarked, zoomable JPEG tile sets.

Digital Audio: Three audio cassettes and seven reel-to-reel tapes were digitized as eleven WAV (archival) and MP3 (access) files by Specs Brothers in 2022. MDAH staff transcribed five recordings and scanned preexisting transcripts for the other six in 2022; they are accessible as PDF files.


The electronic files in the Eudora Welty Digital Archives are intended for public use in research, teaching, and private study in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Use clause of the United States Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Any use beyond that prescribed by Fair Use requires the permission of the copyright holders.

Eudora Welty, LLC, claims all copyright interest in items created by Eudora Welty and Welty family members. (Permission to publish is required.) MDAH asks that each Eudora Welty, LLC, image used in a presentation, display or publication be accompanied by the following credit statement:

Credit: Copyright © Eudora Welty, LLC; Courtesy Eudora Welty Collection -- Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Copyright ownership for items not created by Eudora Welty varies and may be undetermined. MDAH asks that each image used in a presentation, display, or publication for these materials be accompanied by the following credit statement:

Credit: Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Publicity and Privacy Rights

MDAH alerts the user to the issue of publicity and privacy rights of subjects represented in these scans. Distinct from copyright, which concerns the owner of the intellectual content, publicity and/or privacy rights apply to individuals who did not sign a contract or release form giving the creator the legal right to use his/her likeness or personal information. Publicity and privacy rights also differ from copyright in that there are not exemptions for Fair Use or educational purposes. These rights are not regulated by federal law but by state statute and common law. When using images from this collection it is the patron's responsibility to determine whether privacy and publicity rights issues may exist and consider the mitigating factors.

Copy Availability

High-resolution TIFFs of the images may be purchased from MDAH. The MDAH Public Order procedure and fee schedule apply. Consult the Photoreproduction and Digital Imaging policy or contact MDAH Reference Staff for order options as well as information on how to obtain and complete the necessary Public Order forms: 601-576-6876 or