Richmond Croom Beatty was born January 6, 1905, a son of William Henry and Caroline Barbour Beatty. He received his early education in Barker Elementary School and Central High School in Birmingham. He received his A.B. degree from Birmingham Southern University in 1924, his M.A. degree from Vanderbilt in 1928, and his Ph.D. degree from Vanderbilt in 1930.
Behind the incisive, irascible wit of Richmond Croom Beatty, Professor of English and faculty member since 1937, seethes the man’s scorn of sycophancy, sham and the second-rate. And lightly covered by the casual air lies an unrelenting demand for first-class work, on his students’ part and his own. This even-voiced, sharp-shooting Alabamian – born in Shawnee, Okla. before his father, a cotton buyer, took his family back to Birmingham – is one of the men who kept Vanderbilt’s English department high on the national list. His own reputation in letters is formidable; he is the author of four biographies – William Byrd, Bayard Taylor, Macaulay and Lowell - and the editor of seven significant literary volumes. Of equal weight in the academic scales is his work with graduate scholars; he directs a vast number of M.A. and Ph.D. theses, often as many as a dozen at a time. But his talents are not limited to the department. His articles in recent years added flavor and fire to the Alumnus; one of them, a reply to a Collier’s attack on fraternities, was reprinted by the “Greeks” as their own apologia. He was a fraternity man himself - as well as hurdles runner, pole vaulter and track captain - at Birmingham Southern and at Vanderbilt. (He helped defray his tuition by doing chemical analysis for a cast iron pipe firm and, later, with a job “on the rim” for the Birmingham Age-Herald). He began teaching at Memphis State and, five years later, in 1935, became a faculty member at the University of Alabama. During his twenty-one years of study and teaching at Vanderbilt he has never been or tried to be “all things to all men”; rather he has made his name mean merely a pair of virtues not always, in other men, found together: talent and integrity.
“Vanderbilt Portraits No. 36: [Richmond Croom Beatty]. Vanderbilt Alumnus Magazine, May-June 1954(vol. 39 no. 5): 5.
Scope and Content Note
The Richmond Croom Beatty Papers (1905 – 1961) include correspondence and writings by Beatty as well as reviews, newspaper clippings, photographs, journal and magazine articles, class notes, index cards and manuscripts of writings by others. The Papers consist of nine Hollinger boxes (3.55 linear feet).
The bulk of the materials cover the 1930s through 1950.
Beatty’s writings are divided into several series: book manuscripts, poetry, book reviews, journal articles, general notes on literature and class notes. There is also a box of handwritten notes on index cards.
Overview | Box Listing | Complete Finding Aid (pdf)
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