Georgia Historical Society’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Collection Now Available for Research

Savannah, GA, April 17, 2024—2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) recently announced that the late Dr. John Duncan and his wife, Virginia, donated their collection of domestic and foreign editions of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil to GHS, along with related ephemera and other materials. The collection is now available to researchers online on the GHS website or in person at the GHS Research Center in Savannah.

While researching and writing his landmark book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt often stayed with his Savannah friends John and Virginia Duncan at their townhouse on Taylor Street. Duncan, a professional historian, lifelong antiquarian, and collector, recognized that he was an eyewitness to history in the making and proactively collected a variety of ephemera and photographs connected to Berendt and the real-life characters he profiled in the book. Following the book’s  publication, Duncan also collected all foreign editions of the worldwide bestseller, as well as TV, newspaper, and magazine interviews with Berendt.

Later, when Clint Eastwood directed the movie adaptation, Duncan again collected everything he could about the film, including an original screenplay signed by various cast and crew members. Over time, Duncan assembled undoubtedly the best single collection on Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in the country and, shortly before his death in 2022, donated the collection to the Georgia Historical Society.

“As Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has played such a critical role in worldwide perceptions of Savannahand almost single-handedly drove tourism to the citythis is an incredibly important collection for us to preserve and make accessible to researchers,” said Nate Pedersen, GHS Manager of Archival and Reference Team. “We are grateful to the Duncans for donating it here and are excited to welcome researchers to review it.”

Some highlights from the collection include photographs and ephemera connected to The Lady Chablis, Danny Hansford’s breakup letter to Jim Williams, Emily Bannister’s (Hansford’s mother) letter to Berendt, and photographs of many of the people, such as Joe Odom, who is featured prominently in the book. In addition, all the foreign editions of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, an extensive collection of interviews with John Berendt, and the material connected to the film, all combine to build a comprehensive archive of the publishing phenomena that would define a city.

For more information about the John Duncan Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil collection at GHS, please contact Keith Strigaro, Director of Communications, at 912.651.2125 ext. 153 or


Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
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