Scope and Contents
This collection is composed of the personal papers of Marion Priscilla Carpenter Babb (Priscilla M. Babb) including her correspondence, diaries, and original manuscripts of poetry and prose, 1907-1969. The papers are divided into three series, the first contains Babb’s personal correspondence, diaries/journals, primarily from her time as a student at Illinois State Normal University (now Illinois State University), during the late 1920s. This series also includes household financial documents that date from her marriage to Claude C. Babb (1933) and document the middle-class home front experience in the Peoria area during World War II. Series II contains Babb’s education and professional papers. Series III contains Babb’s original writing, including drafts of poems, short stories, and essays. At least four of her poems were published (1931, 1933) and those publications are included. Also included are several letters and comments of poets Lucia Trent and Ralph Cheyney critiquing Babb’s verse. Such letters are in Series II and many of the poetry drafts in Series III include marginalia added by Trent.
Photographs and artifacts from this collection were transferred to the Audio/Visual Department and the artifact collection respectively.
Biographical / Historical
Priscilla M. Babb was born Marion Priscilla Carpenter, December 23, 1903, in Streator, Illinois, daughter of Helen and Ira H. Carpenter. She grew up and attended school in Streator, and later attended Illinois State Normal University (later Illinois State University) where she studied elementary education and earned a teaching certificate (1930). She then embarked on a career in teaching in several Illinois communities including Peoria. Writing as M. Priscilla Carpenter, she wrote poetry and prose and published a few of her poems during the early 1930s. She honed her writing skills by taking the “Cheyney-Trent Correspondence Course in Verse Technique” and was thus influenced by poets Lucia Trent and Ralph Cheyney. In 1933 she married Claude C. Babb and they lived in Peoria and Washington, Illinois, where they raised daughters Nancy and Martha. Claude was a machinist who worked for Caterpillar and other companies in the Peoria area. Priscilla M. Babb died on July 23, 1969, and is buried in Peoria.
1.42 Linear Feet (1 archive box, 1 manuscript box, 1 oversize folder ) : 1.33 cubic feet
Language of Materials