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E. Barrett Prettyman papers

Abstract

Title:
E. Barrett Prettyman papers
Author/Creator:
Prettyman, E. Barrett
Collection number:
87-224
Size:
1.25 linear feet
Bulk dates:
1967-1980
Inclusive dates:
1962-1984
Collection Area:
Literature and Rare Books
Repository:
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email: askhornbake@umd.edu
Abstract:

E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr. (b. 1925), was Katherine Anne Porter's lawyer and close friend from the mid-1960s until her death in 1980. He has been in private practice in Washington, D.C., since 1955, and a partner with the prominent firm of Hogan and Hartson since 1964. He is the author of Death and the Supreme Court. His papers include personal letters and business correspondence relating to Porter. During the lifetime of Mr. Prettyman, no one may quote from these papers unless authorized in writing by him. In addition, researchers may not consult the portion of these papers donated in 1997 without Mr. Prettyman's written permission.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

The materials in Series I, Box 2 and Series II are restricted. Please see the series descriptions for more information.

Preferred citation:

E. Barrett Prettyman papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1530
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Katherine Anne Porter once wrote that knowing Elijah Barrett Prettyman, Jr., during the last years of her life made those years worth living. Prettyman, a Washington, D. C., attorney, became her lawyer and friend in 1966 and continued his professional and personal relationship with her until her death in 1980.

E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., was born on June 1, 1925, in Washington, D. C., to Lucy Courtney Hill and Elijah Barrett Prettyman, a prominent U. S. Court of Appeals judge. He earned a B.A. from Yale University in 1949 and an LL.B. from the University of Virginia in 1953. He was married twice and has two children from his first marriage.

From 1953 to 1955, Prettyman served as a law clerk to U. S. Supreme Court justices Robert H. Jackson, Felix Frankfurter, and John M. Harlan. He was admitted to the bar in 1954 and within three years argued a case before the Supreme Court, the first of nineteen cases he would present before the court by 1995. He became an associate with the law firm of Hogan and Hartson in 1955 and was named a partner in 1964. In 1963, Prettyman served as special assistant to U. S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and was an aide to presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1963 to 1964. He was also the first president of the District of Columbia Bar Association.

Prettyman's first contact with Katherine Anne Porter came in 1962, when he called her after reading Ship of Fools; they met the next day. In April 1962, he wrote to request that she autograph his copy of that book, and she fulfilled his request.

Prettyman greatly admired Porter and her writings, in part because he was a writer himself. In 1961, he published Death and the Supreme Court, which won two awards: the Mystery Writers of America Award for the best fact-crime book of the year and the Scribes Award for the best expression for the lay reader of the aims and purposes of the legal profession.

In 1963, Prettyman invited Porter to participate in a symposium on classic literature at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., but she was unable to accept. In May 1966, she contacted Prettyman seeking his professional advice on her will. That contact led to both a professional relationship and an intimate friendship. Porter characterized Prettyman as the last love of her life, though, according to Prettyman, she "loved to dramatize things." He felt affection and admiration for her as well; however, he had a clear understanding of the nature of their relationship:

It was greatly embellished in her own mind, for her own purposes, and I was happy to go along with it up to a point. She was lonely, and had no one else with whom she could get along for very long or whom she felt she could trust. For my part, while I certainly cared for and respected her, my primary goal was to keep her out of trouble (E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., to Joan Givner, 22 November 1982).

Porter required considerable legal advice on such matters as her will, contracts with publishers, financial matters, and her relationship with the University of Maryland. Prettyman also made time for social occasions with her despite the heavy demands of his own professional, civic, and personal obligations.

Prettyman remained Porter's friend and lawyer until 1977, when her health deteriorated and the court appointed someone to look after her affairs. Prettyman continues to live in the Washington area and is active in cultural and professional activities.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., cover the period 1962 to 1984, with the bulk created between 1967 and 1980. They consist primarily of correspondence between Katherine Anne Porter and Prettyman. Many of the letters are solely about their relationship and her sentiments about him, but others mention current events, legal matters, daily life, and her health. The remainder of the collection consists of correspondence between Prettyman and other people, such as accountants, literary agents, lawyers, and friends, concerning Porter's legal affairs. The collection includes letters, notes, memoranda, cards, and newspaper and magazine clippings.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Mr. Prettyman donated a portion of these papers to the University of Maryland at College Park Libraries in 1990. A second portion was received in December 1997.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Patricia J. Rettig, May 1997. Accretion incorporated and guide revised, February 1998.

Processing note:

Items within the series were arranged in chronological order and foldered by year. Staples and metal paper clips were removed and replaced with plastic clips. Newspaper and magazine clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper and the originals were discarded. The documents were placed in acid-free folders in an acid-free box. The accretion was processed in the same manner, and a new series was created. Because of restrictions placed on access to the 1997 donation, the additional Series I correspondence has not been interfiled with that of the 1990 donation.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Michael Yates.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection has been arranged as two series

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1962-1980 (0.75 linear feet)

This series includes letters, notes, cards, memoranda, and clippings, most of the last annotated by Porter. The correspondence is primarily personal, for even when writing a business letter, Porter included her sentiments toward Prettyman. The letters are often solely about their relationship and her feelings for him, but some discuss legal or financial matters, current events, daily life, her health, and menus of meals she had prepared or wanted to prepare for him.

Interfiled are four letters written by Porter to Prettyman in 1971 and 1976 that Prettyman characterized as "defamatory." They concern Glenway Wescott, her publisher Seymour Lawrence, and the Katherine Anne Porter Room at the University of Maryland. Additionally, there are eight postcards Prettyman sent to Porter in 1976 and 1977 as well as an invitation to his son's wedding in 1979. Also interfiled are a few letters written by other individuals to Miss Porter and forwarded to Prettyman for advice. Included in the 1997 accretion are two folders of similar materials. Items of special interest are notes from a 1970 conversation between Porter and Prettyman about her encounter with Dylan Thomas in 1957 and a 1974 memo to the file about Porter's second marriage. There are also two additional folders of bill payment information from the G. E. Credit Corporation and Smith's Transfer and Storage Company that Porter had forwarded to Prettyman for legal action.

This series is divided into two groupings. The first consists of correspondence donated to the Libraries in 1990. This grouping is arranged chronologically. The second grouping contains the Prettyman-Porter correspondence donated by Mr. Prettyman in 1997. This correspondence is arranged chronologically except for that with Smith's Transfer Co. and G.E. Credit Corp. These portions of the correspondence have been placed into individual folders and arranged chronologically.

During the lifetime of E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., no one may quote from these papers unless authorized in writing by E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr. In addition, during the lifetime of Mr. Prettyman, researchers may not consult the portion of the collection donated in 1997 [Series I, Box 2 and Series II] unless authorized to do so in writing by Mr. Prettyman.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1963, 1966-1967 series 1box 1folder 1
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1968 series 1box 1folder 2
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1969 series 1box 1folder 3
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1970 series 1box 1folder 4
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1971 series 1box 1folder 5
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1972 series 1box 1folder 6
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1973 series 1box 1folder 7
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1974 series 1box 1folder 8
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1975 series 1box 1folder 9
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, 1976-1980 series 1box 1folder 10
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter, undated series 1box 1folder 11
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter -- [RESTRICTED], 1962-1972 series 1box 2folder 1
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter -- [RESTRICTED], 1973-1980 series 1box 2folder 2
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter -- (Smith's Transfer Co.) -- [RESTRICTED], 1969-1972 series 1box 2folder 3
Correspondence With Katherine Anne Porter -- (G.E. Credit Corp.) -- [RESTRICTED], 1972 series 1box 2folder 4

Series 2: Correspondence With Others, 1966-1984 (0.5 linear feet)

This series includes letters, memoranda, newspaper clippings, and legal and financial documents. All of it concerns Porter's legal affairs, such as the Katherine Anne Porter Foundation, donations to the University of Maryland, her residences, finances, and contracts. There is substantial correspondence between Prettyman and Paul Porter related to the guardianship. There is also a file of correspondence with M. M. Liberman, a Porter scholar, whom Porter appointed as her literary executor in 1973. Substantial correspondence also exists with Porter's agents Cyrilly Abels, Joan Daves, and Owen Laster, as well as with her biographer Joan Givner.

The correspondence is arranged in chronological order, except for the correspondence with Liberman, which has been retained in a separate file. It is also arranged chronologically.

During the lifetime of E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., no one may quote from these papers unless authorized in writing by E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr. In addition, during the lifetime of Mr. Prettyman, researchers may not consult the portion of the collection donated in 1997 [Series I, Box 2 and Series II] unless authorized to do so in writing by Mr. Prettyman.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Correspondence With Others -- [RESTRICTED], 1966-1968 series 2box 1folder 1
Correspondence With Others -- [RESTRICTED], 1969 series 2box 1folder 2
Correspondence With Others -- [RESTRICTED], 1970-1972 series 2box 1folder 3
Correspondence With Others -- [RESTRICTED], 1973-1974 series 2box 1folder 4
Correspondence With Others -- [RESTRICTED], 1975-1976 series 2box 1folder 5
Correspondence With Others -- [RESTRICTED], 1977-1978 series 2box 1folder 6
Correspondence With Others -- [RESTRICTED], 1979-1984 series 2box 1folder 7
Correspondence With Others -- (M. M. Liberman) -- [RESTRICTED], 1968-1974 series 2box 1folder 8

Related Material

Materials related to this collection can be found in the Papers of Katherine Anne Porter, Series I, Subseries 3, which contains correspondence from E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., to Porter and the carbon copies of her typed letters to him. Most of his letters in that collection relate to legal matters; however, those that are personal give context to her letters in the Prettyman papers.

Further legal materials involving Prettyman can be found in the Papers of Paul Porter, Series II, which relate to Mr. Porter's role as guardian of Porter.

Photographs donated with the Prettyman papers have been incorporated into the Papers of Katherine Anne Porter. A desk used by E. Barrett Prettyman, Sr., was donated by his son for the Katherine Anne Porter Room in 1970.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Selected Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.

Subjects

Names (Added Entries)