Guide to the Chris Costner Sizemore Papers, 1952-1989 (bulk 1956-1979)
The Chris Costner Sizemore Papers span the time period 1952-1989, with the bulk of the papers dating between 1956 and 1979. The collection consists largely of correspondence; diaries and writings by Sizemore; clippings centered on film and book promotions or speaking engagements; printed materials related to her appearances; interviews and documentary materials (including film, video- and audiocassettes); and miscellaneous materials including photographs, legal and financial papers, and a general file. Most items relate to Sizemore's struggle with multiple personality disorder (dissociative identity disorder), both personally through letters, writings, and diaries, and publicly through interviews, documentary media, and clippings. The papers provide an in-depth look into the life of a woman with a rare disorder who later came to clearly articulate her life to the public. She became a mental health advocate in a time when mental illnesses were still kept secret. A biography was written by her doctors in 1957, Corbett Thigpen and Hervey Cleckley, called The Three Faces of Eve. It was turned into a film the next year. Under the pseudonym, Evelyn Lancaster, Sizemore co-authored The Final Face of Eve with James Poling in 1958. In 1977 she wrote, under her given name, the autobiography I'm Eve.
The Correspondence Series is arranged chronologically, and consists primarily of incoming letters. Dr. Corbett Thigpen, the doctor to deliver the original diagnosis of multiple personality disorder, is prominent in much of the collection; this particular series plainly documents his relationship to Sizemore during treatment and continuing well into the 1970s. He wrote to Sizemore about his writings, revealing much about the publication of The Three Faces of Eve (book), and its subsequent movie release. Other correspondents include other doctors, family members, Sizemore's editors and publishers, and organizations for which she lectured. Thus they help document earlier years, when her identity remained a secret, through its release, and her subsequent public life of art shows, lectures, broadcasts, and appearances, often for mental health organizations.
The Writings Series is comprised primarily of the holograph manuscript, typescript, final galley proofs, and paperback edition of I'm Eve, the memoir written by Sizemore with the help of Elen Patillo. This comprehensive view of the book's publication is represented from handwritten copy to final edition. All other parts of the collection provide the context in which the book was created, including a large amount of correspondence from editors, recordings of family interviews (presumably recorded for I'm Eve), clippings, and financial papers. Other parts of the Writings Series include some short descriptions of parts of her life and poetry. There are a few writings by others.
There are six diaries in the Diaries Series, kept during certain spans of the 1950s and 1970s. Here Sizemore clearly discloses inner thoughts, which reveal very personal information about enduring mental illness and its effects on her family. The Clippings Series conveys the breadth of the advertising campaign for The Three Faces of Eve, as well as clippings regarding Sizemore's books, art shows, articles, and lectures. The Printed Materials Series also includes information on I'm Eve, including newsletters, flyers, book tour itineraries, programs, and a few journal articles about Sizemore and multiple personality disorder. There is also an Interviews and Documentary Materials Series that again reflects the public's interest in her life, as well as her own desire to document and share her experiences in writing, speaking, and art. Included is a documentary film by Dr. Thigpen, and video and audiocassettes of television interviews, other appearances, and of family members discussing a shared past (sound quality of some of the audiocassettes is very poor). The Miscellaneous Series also contains items relating to Sizemore's illness and subsequent writing and speaking career, such as financial and legal papers, medical files, notes from certain personalities, and photographs. Additionally, some materials are housed separately for preservation reasons in an Oversize Materials group.
- Collection Number
- Chris Costner Sizemore papers
- 1952-1989 (bulk 1956-1979)
- Sizemore, Chris Costner
- 8 Linear Feet, 6000 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Processing Note: In addition to the inventory for the main collection, there are four additional boxes of materials comprising an accession acquired after processing was completed. These items are arranged in series similar to the main collection. See Additional Materials listing for materials in this accession.
Access to the Collection
Restrictions apply to the use of the Chris Costner Sizemore Papers. The collection is closed to use except with permission from donor.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Chris Costner Sizemore Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Includes letters from Dr. Corbett H. Thigpen, other doctors, friends, family members, editors, publishers, and some who had recently seen Sizemore on television or read her works. Letters are arranged chronologically with undated letters at the end. Most attachments remain clipped to the individual letters, and so this particular series also includes some photographs, royalty statements, and other miscellaneous materials. A few additional items are housed in the oversize materials.
Includes typescripts of the publication I'm Eve, as well as poetry by Sizemore and others. See also Oversize Materials group.
Other printed items are located in the Oversize Materials.
This series contains interviews and documentary materials in a variety of media formats, including audio cassettes and film. Some of the audiocassettes have very poor sound quality.
[Original recordings are closed to use. Listening or viewing copies must be made for access.]
It is likely that these were recorded by Sizemore and Pittilo in preparation for writing I'm Eve. Each tape is listed below with the first name found written on the master copy, although there may be more than one person interviewed on each tape. See Master Copy labels for more information.
Additional photographs in Correspondence Series and in Ovsz. Materials
Consists of additional items from an accession acquired after processing of the main collection was completed. Arranged in series similar to the main collection.
Two volumes written in German dating from the 1950s.
Includes contract agreements with Dr. Thigpen.
|1927 Apr 4||
Born in Edgefield, S.C. to Acie and Zueline Hastings Costner.
Traumas witnessed. First memory of additional personalities: the Red Head Girl, Ugly Girl, and Black Patent Shoe Girl.
Twin sisters, Elyse and Louise, born.
Married George Rodgers.
Daughter Taffy born.
Divorced George Rodgers. Multiple personality disorder diagnosed by Dr. Corbett Thigpen and Dr. Hervey Cleckley.
Married Don Sizemore.
McGraw-Hill released The Three Faces of Eve by Corbett Thigpen. Film version came out the same year.
Co-authored The Final Face of Eve with James Poling.
Son, Bobby Sizemore, born.
Doubleday released I'm Eve, by Sizemore and cousin Elen Sain Pittillo.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Diaries -- Women authors
- Mental illness -- Personal narratives
- Multiple personality -- United States -- Case studies
- Multiple personality in art
- Women -- Psychology -- Case studies
- Women -- Mental health -- Personal narratives
- Women -- Biography
- Women authors, American
The papers of Chris Costner Sizemore were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from 1982 through 1989.
Processed by Lisa Stark
Completed December 1999
Encoded by Lisa Stark