Celestine Sibley

Celestine Sibley, a renowned southern author, journalist, and syndicated columnist, reported for the Atlanta Constitution from 1941 to 1999. Over her long career, she wrote more than 10,000 columns and many news stories of astonishing range, from state politics and courtroom drama to cultural affairs and homespun features. Sibley was one of the most popular and long-running columnists for the Constitution, and her well-written and poignant essays on southern culture made her an icon in the South. Regarded by her colleagues as a reporting legend, Sibley was also the accomplished author of nearly thirty books published between 1958 and 1997.

Shortly after Sibley joined the Atlanta Constitution in 1941, she became one of the newspaper's first female editors. Her career as a fiction writer began with the publication of The Malignant Heart (1957), the first book in the Kate Mulcay mystery series. Meanwhile, from 1958 to 1978 Sibley covered politics, courts, and the Georgia legislature.

For nearly forty years, Sibley continued to publish books in a variety of genres, including Peachtree Street, U.S.A. (1963), a portrait of Atlanta; Dear Store (1967), a history of Rich's Department Store; A Place Called Sweet Apple (1967), reflections on restoring her log cabin home in Roswell; Turned Funny(1988), her memoir; and additional novels, one of which -- Children, My Children -- won the first Townsend Prize for children's fiction. Although Sibley spent the bulk of her career as a reporter, she is perhaps best remembered as a syndicated columnist. Although she retired from reporting in the late 1990s, Sibley continued to spend the majority of her days writing books and adding to her vast body of columns about southern life. In 1990 she received the Ralph McGill Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism. She also received two honorary degrees during her career, one in 1993 from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and another in 1996 from Emory University in Atlanta. A few months before her death, Sibley was awarded the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, in appreciation for her years of political reporting, the Georgia House of Representatives named its capitol press gallery in Sibley's honor.

Sibley continued working until the final weeks before her death. Her last Constitution column appeared on July 25, 1999, and Sibley died of cancer at the age of eighty-five on August 15, 1999.


The following titles may be found in the Hall of Fame Library:

Ah, Sweet Mystery. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991.

Atlanta's Half-Century: As Seen Through the Eyes of Columnists. (Celestine Sibley and Furman Bisher) Atlanta: Longstreet Press, Inc., 1997.

Calloway Gardens: The Unending Season. (Foreword by Celestine Sibley) Atlanta: Longstreet Press, Inc., 1989.

Celestine Sibley, Reporter. Athens: Hill Street Press, 2001.

The Celestine Sibley Sampler: Writings and Photographs with Tributes to the Beloved Author and Journalist. (Ed. Sibley Fleming) Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1997.

Celestine Sibley's Seasons of the Earth Engagement Calendar. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1981.

Children, My Children. New York: Harper & Row, 1981.

Christmas in Georgia, Five Stories. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1985.

Cronaca Nera a Domicilio. Milano: Garzanti, 1959.

Day by Day with Celestine Sibley. Garden City: Doubleday, 1975.

Dear Store: an Affectionate Portrait of Rich's. Garden City: Doubleday, 1967.

Dire Happenings at Scratch Ankle. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993. Also published in collection: Woodbury: Detective Book Club, 1994.

Especially at Christmas. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1985.

For all Seasons. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1984.

Jincey. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.

The Magical Realm of Sallie Middleton. (with text by Celestine Sibley) Birmingham: Oxmoor House, 1980.

Mothers are Always Special. Garden City: Doubleday, 1970.

Peachtree Street, U.S.A.; an Affectionate Portrait of Atlanta . (Photos by John Bazemore) Garden City: Doubleday, 1963.

A Place Called Sweet Apple: Country Living and Southern Recipes. Atlanta: PeachtreePublishers, 1985.

A Plague of Kinfolks: A Kate Mulcay Mystery. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.

The Malignant Heart. Roslyn: Published for the Detective Book Club, by Walter J. Black, 1958.

Small Blessings. Garden City: Doubleday, 1977.

Spider in the Sink: A Kate Mulcay mystery. New York: Harper Collins, 1997.

Straight as an Arrow. New York: Harper Collins, 1992.

The Sweet Apple Gardening Book. Garden City: Doubleday, 1972.

Tokens of Myself. Atlanta: Longstreet Press, 1990.

Touch of the Shepherd: Reflections on the Life of Vernon S. Broyles, Jr. Atlanta: North Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1994.

Turned Funny. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.

Young 'uns: a Celebration. New York: Harper & Row, 1982.

Manuscript Holdings

The papers of Celestine Sibley are held by the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library of Emory University, Atlanta.