This Goodly Land

Elise Sanguinetti (January 26, 1926–present)

Other Names Used

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Biographical Information

Elise Sanguinetti was born and grew up in Anniston, Ala. Her father, Col. Harry M. Ayers, was the owner, editor, and publisher of The Anniston Star. Sanguinetti attended high school at a private boarding school, Ashley Hall, in Charleston, S.C. During this time, she decided to become a writer, and she wrote for the school’s literary magazine. Sanguinetti attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., for one year before transferring to the University of Alabama, where she was a student of Hudson Strode. Sanguinetti and fellow student Harper Lee were on the staff of the University’s humor magazine, The Rammer-Jammer. Sanguinetti graduated from the University with an AB. She worked for four years as a reporter and feature writer for The Anniston Star before moving with her husband to Pittsburgh, Pa., where she began writing short stories.

Sanguinetti’s first national publication was “To You, Frére Twig,” which appeared in Mademoiselle magazine in 1960. An expanded version of this story was published in 1962 as The Last of the Whitfields. Sanguinetti published four novels between 1962 and 1971. In 1977, her mother, who had been running the family publishing business since the death of Col. Ayers, died, and Sanguinetti and her brother took over the business. She also continued to publish short stories in literary magazines. In 2002, Sanguinetti and her brother, H. Brandt Ayers, created a nonprofit foundation to own and operate The Anniston Star and a program in partnership with the University of Alabama to offer a graduate program in community journalism.

Interests and Themes

Elise Sanguinetti’s novels feature Southern settings and concern the changes occurring in Southern society and culture during the 1950s and 1960s.

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Location of Papers

Photo courtesy of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts, Auburn University.

Last updated on Oct 10, 2009.

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