Ann Waldron, Biographer of Southern Writers, Is Dead at 85

Historians in the News

Ann Waldron, who wrote biographies of Southern writers and books for children and young adults, but then — at 78 — decided that she’d rather concoct tales about gruesome murders on the campus of Princeton University, died Friday at her home in Princeton, N.J. She was 85.

The cause was heart failure, her son Tom said.

A daughter of the South, Ms. Waldron wrote three biographies about Southern writers and editors. One, “Hodding Carter: The Reconstruction of a Racist” — about the editor of a progressive newspaper in Greenville, Miss., at the height of the civil rights struggle — was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times in 1993.

“Ann Waldron outlines in rich and intriguing detail the price paid by the editor for questioning the tradition of white supremacy,” Claude Sitton wrote in The New York Times Book Review.

While researching the Carter biography, Ms. Waldron met Eudora Welty, the Southern writer. Her later request for Welty’s cooperation in a biography was rejected. Reviews of her unauthorized work, “Eudora: A Writer’s Life” (1998), were mixed, but The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called it “a judicious account, written against the odds” and said Welty was “lucky that Ann Waldron is her first biographer.”...
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