An exhibit on Raintree County author Ross Lockridge, Jr., opens today at the Lilly Library, located on the IU Bloomington campus. "Raintree County: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Ross Lockridge, Jr." explores the development of Lockridge's first novel and how it was inspired by Henry County, Indiana, and the history of the author's extended family.
Raintree County was the publishing event of 1948. Excerpted in Life magazine, it was a Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection, won MGM's Novel Award and a movie deal, and stood at the top of the nation's bestseller lists. Unfortunately, Lockridge's first novel was also his last. Two months after its publication the 33-year-old author from Bloomington, Indiana, took his own life.
Lockridge's son Larry searches for an understanding of his father's baffling act in his book, Shade of the Raintree. In this powerfully narrated biography, Larry Lockridge uncovers a man of great vitality, humor, love, and visionary ambition, but also of deep vulnerability. The paperback edition of the book will be published by IU Press this spring to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Ross Lockridge, Jr.'s birth.
The Lilly Library display includes original art for the controversial geoglyph depicted on the first dust jacket as well as materials related to novel's Hollywood movie adaptation starring Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, and Eva Marie Saint. The exhibit runs through May 19. For more information, visit the Lilly Library's website.