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Susan Tyler Hitchcock papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 16729

Content Description

This collection documents the work of Susan Tyler Hitchcock, writer, editor, and former faculty member at the University of Virginia. This collection includes Hitchcock's correspondence, notes, photographs, research, and drafts of manuscripts.

The bulk of the materials focus on the work surrounding her book The University of Virginia: A Pictorial History published by the University of Virginia Press in the Fall 1999. Included in the materials are research, photographs, Hitchcock's primarily handwritten interview notes from 1998 to 1999, and drafts for the "Pictorial History". There are nine folders of drafts of the book: the full book and selected chapters. These drafts are dated October 1998 and were returned to Hitchcock in early 1999 for finalization. Many of these are marked with the edits and comments by notable faculty and staff at the University of Virginia including J. Murray Howard, architectural historian; Phyllis Leffler, History faculty member at UVa and expert in UVa history; Joseph Vaughan, emeritus faculty at UVa, former Provost, and friend of Hitchcock; and Jason Bell representing John Casteen, the seventh president of the University. Other key people who made revisions include Boyd Zenner, the book's editor at the university Press, and Jon Kates, director of the university bookstore, and Tiffany Gilbert, an intern who helped with image research. which underwrote the project. Also included is a file of her work as the editor of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences alumni newsletter Of Arts & Sciences; a research file on Ann Freeman, a descendant of Basil Gildersleeve, an American classical scholar; and several folders of material related to her help in the creation of the Rotunda tales: Stories from the University of Virginia, 1920-1960 by Joseph Lee Vaughan. Hitchcock helped Vaughn to organize, edit, and manage the editorial production of the book and materials including correspondence from herself, Vaughan, and others as well as, notes, clippings, and photographs.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1990-1999


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is minimally processed and open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Susan Tyler Hitchcock is an American writer, editor, and professor. Born on March 30, 1950, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, her father, Hugh Wiley, was a musicologist, and her mother, Helene Hitchcock, was a research administrator. Susan attained her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan in 1970 and earned a master’s degree two years later. Susan later graduated from the University of Virginia's English doctorate program in 1978. Hitchcock married David W. Watkins III, a mechanical engineer, in 1980. They had two children together: a daughter, Alison, and a son, John.

In 1973, she began her career as an editorial assistant at Harper & Row Publishers in New York City. From there, she began to work as an editor and writer at Media Products, Inc., also located in New York City. Upon departing Media Products, Inc. in 1978, Susan began her freelance writing career, which continues today. Shortly after attaining her doctorate, Hitchcock became an assistant professor of humanities at the University of Virginia. She held this position from 1981 to 1991. A professor in the Division of Humanities of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Hitchcock taught humanities classes tailored to engineering students. After her time at the University of Virginia, Susan continued her freelance career, publishing over thirteen books. Hitchcock returned to the University of Virginia in 1998 to write The University of Virginia: A Pictorial History published in 1999. The book documents the evolution of history from its founding to the 21st century through photographs, interviews, memorabilia, and other ephemera. The publication was sponsored by the University of Virginia Bookstore and distributed by the University of Virginia Press. She began freelance writing for National Geographic in 2002 and joined the book editing staff full-time in 2007.

Published Books by Susan Hitchcock:

Gather Ye Wild Things: A Forager's Year, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1980.

Monticello and Beyond, Papercraft, 1982.

Wildflowers on the Windowsill, Crown (New York, NY), 1984.

Eldridge Bagley: Son of the Soil, Soul of an Artist, Rand McNally Book Services Group/Custom Products (Richmond, VA), 1997.

Coming About: A Family Passage at Sea (memoir), Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1998.

The University of Virginia: A Pictorial History, University Press of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1999.

Listen, My Children: Poems for Kindergarteners, Core Knowledge Foundation (Charlottesville, VA), 2001.

Sylvia Earle: Deep-sea Explorer, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2004.

(Editor, with John L. Esposito) Geography of Religion: Where God Lives, Where Pilgrims

Walk, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2004.

Rita Levi-Montalcini, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2005.

Mad Mary Lamb: Lunacy and Murder in Literary London, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2005.

Karen Horney: Pioneer of Feminine Psychology, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2005.

Roe v. Wade: Protecting a Woman's Right to Choose, Chelsea House (New York, NY), 2006.

Frankenstein: A Cultural History, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books, including Uncommon Wealth, Virginia Nature Conservancy (Arlington, VA), 2000, and From Here to There, Virginia Museum of Transportation (Roanoke, VA), 1998.


1 Cubic Feet (1 cubic box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was a gift from Susan Hitchcok to the Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia on February 22, 2022.

Condition Description


Guide to the Susan Tyler Hitchcock papers
Rose Oliveira, Accessioning Archivist
29 November 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States