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A Guide to the Linda Abess Ellis Collection

Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
May 2005

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Ellis, Linda A. (Linda Abess), 1939-
Title: Linda Abess Ellis Collection
Dates: 1947-1948
Abstract: Letters written by Lillian Smith regarding the Laurel Falls Camp for Girls, which was attended by Linda A. Ellis as a young girl.
Extent: 0.2 Linear feet. 1 box.
Identification: MS Group 188
Language(s): English
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Linda Abess Ellis attended Laurel Falls Camp for Girls in Clayton, Georgia, in the late 1940s. The summer camp was operated by author and social activist, Lillian Smith, between 1925 and 1948.

Scope and Content

Correspondence written by Lillian Smith in 1947 and 1948 pertaining to the Laurel Falls Camp for Girls in Clayton, Georgia. The collection also includes correspondence written by Linda Abess as a young girl attending the summer camp. The majority of the letters are written to the parents of Linda Abess, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Abess. One letter is written by Smith to Marcella and Arthur Ungar, the grandparents of Linda Abess.

The letters primarily describe activities at the camp where "Miss Lil" taught young white girls. An innovative and daring experiment in education in the South, the camp was used by Smith to teach the children about social issues, particularly regarding race relations. Although these issues are not included in her correspondence with the parents, Smith does describe camp operations and her personal activities, including the status of her writing and her friendship with Paula Snelling. One letter, mailed to all parents of children attending the camp, describes a polio case in Georgia and the precautions Smith has taken at the camp to safeguard against polio. Other letters discuss procedures for enrolling attendees, clothing requirements, planned activities, and special events at the camp. Several letters, including those written by Linda Abess to her parents, refer to Smith's fictional creation named "Buss Eye."

In her handwritten letter to the Ungars, who owned a nearby farm, Smith thanks them for a Christmas turkey and describes her relations with her other neighbors. She also discusses Christmas activities and her writing in this undated letter.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Related or Separated Material

The University of Florida Libraries also holds the Lillian Smith Papers.

Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Linda Abess Ellis Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Linda A. Ellis, 2005.

Contents List

1 Letter from Lillian Smith, Clayton, Georgia, to Mr. and Mrs. Ungar. January 29 [No Year]
1 Letters from Lillian Smith, Laurel Falls Camp, to Mr. and Mrs. Abess. 1947-1948
1 Letter from Lillian Smith, Laurel Falls Camp, to "Parents" (of girls attending the camp) regarding polio precautions. 1948
1 Letter from Linda Abess, Laurel Falls Camp, to her mother, Mrs. Leonard L. Abess. 1948
1 Letter from Linda Abess, Laurel Falls Camp, to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard L. Abess. 1947

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Ellis, Linda A. 1939-
Laurel Falls Camp for Girls (Ga.)
Smith, Lillian Eugenia, 1897-1966 -- Correspondence.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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