A Memoir of Mary Ann.
By the Dominican Nuns of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home, Atlanta, Georgia. Introduction by Flannery O'Connor.
First edition, first printing. Signed by O’Connor on the first page of her introduction and inscribed on the front free endpaper by Monsignor Dodwell, who baptised Mary Ann and was involved in her care, “May Mary Ann bless and smile on the Coles who were so good to her, Monsignor Dodwell”. Also inscribed by a third hand, “Prayers, Sr. M. David O. P.”. O’Connor was contacted by the nuns of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Home in Atlanta after the death of their remarkable patient Mary Ann Long, who had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer on her face as a toddler, but lived to the age of twelve under their care. The nuns wanted to tell Mary Ann’s story, and suggested that O’Connor write a novel based on her life. But O’Connor, as she explains in the introduction, thought it better that the nuns write the real story themselves. Loosely inserted is an original photograph of Mary Ann in her first Communion dress, showing the tumour affecting her face. Signed material of any type by O’Connor is rare, particularly so in the last years before her death in 1964. A poignant association given the author’s own serious, long-term illness and Roman Catholic faith.
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Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine in black, top edge dyed green. With the dust jacket. Slightly rubbed and faded along edges, spotting and partial toning to endpapers. An excellent copy in the lightly rubbed jacket with faded spine panel and a few short closed tears.