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On This Day in Mississippi Literary History


Jan. 1

1912: Historian Lilian Baker Carlisle was born in Meridian, Mississippi.

1923: Photographer and documentarian Florence L. Mars was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

1939: Poet James Seay was born in Panola County, Mississippi.

1943: Psychologist Bryce Britton was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

1950: Short Stories by Eudora Welty was published by Harcourt, Brace, & Company, New York.

1982: The Wake of Jamey Foster, a play by Beth Henley, opened in its first staged production at the Hartford Stage Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut. The play would open on Broadway later that year.

Jan. 2

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Jan. 3

1962: William Faulkner was injured in a fall from his horse in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Jan. 4

1894: Journalist, historian, and fiction writer George W. Lee was born in Indianola, Mississippi.

1919: William Faulkner was discharged from the Canadian division of the Royal Air Force “in consequence of being Surplus to R.A.F. requirements.”

1946: Author John A. Williams was discharged from the U.S. Navy after having been one of the first blacks to be admitted to the hospital corps during World War II.

Jan. 5

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Jan. 6

1700: Iberville returned to Fort Maurepas, named “Biloxi” by the settlers, with more settlers and an appointment for Sauvolle as governor.

1963: Stark Young died in New York. He was buried in Friendship Cemetery in Como, Mississippi.

1989: Photographs by Eudora Welty, with a foreword by Reynolds Price, was published by the University Press of Mississippi, Jackson.

Jan. 7

1954: The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty was published by Harcourt, Brace and Company.

1958: Two plays by Tennessee Williams, Suddenly Last Summer and Something Unspoken, opened under the collective title Garden District (after their shared New Orleans locale) Off-Broadway at the York Theatre in New York.

Jan. 8

1990: Sara Dodge Kimbrough, a portrait painter and art teacher on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, died in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

Jan. 9

1861: The Mississippi legislature voted to secede from the Union.

Jan. 10

1892: Historian Dumas Malone was born in Coldwater, Mississippi.

1936: Historian Stephen E. Ambrose was born in Decatur, Illinois.

1994: Novelist Alice Walworth Graham died in Natchez, Mississippi.

Jan. 11

1925: Journalist and editor Edward Preston Guess was born in Rome, Mississippi.

1931: William Faulkner’s daughter, Alabama Faulkner, was born prematurely on this day. She died nine days later.

2005: The Broker, a thriller by John Grisham, was published by Doubleday.

Jan. 12

1929: Poet Turner Cassity was born in Jackson, Mississippi.

Jan. 13

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Jan. 14

1926: Baptist minister W. Stanley Mooneyham was born in Houston, Mississippi.

1949: Novelist Mary Robison was born in Washington, D.C.

1989: Writer Anne Clark died after a sudden illness in Austin, Texas.

1993: Historian Aubrey C. Land died in Athens, Georgia.

Jan. 15

1900: Baptist minister Ewart Autry was born in Hickory Flat, Mississippi.

1941: Home economist Mary Wallace Crocker was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Jan. 16

1700: Henry de Tonty arrives at Biloxi from upriver to help with the building of the settlements and fortifications. With his arrival, the two French colonies on the North American continent are linked for the first time. (Jan. 16)

1907: Poet and novelist Hubert Creekmore was born in Water Valley, Mississippi. (Jan. 16)

1963: The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore by Tennessee Williams opened on Broadway. The play closed after 69 performances. (Jan. 16)

Jan. 17

1931: Acclaimed stage and screen actor James Earl Jones, who co-wrote his autobiography Voices and Silences with Penelope Niven, was born in Arkabutla, Mississippi.

1979: A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur by Tennessee Williams opened off-Broadway at the Hudson Guild Theatre in New York. It performed only 36 times.

Jan. 18

1813: Physician, lawyer, and historian Reuben Davis was born in Winchester, Tennessee.

1917: English professor Juanita V. Williamson was born in Shelby, Mississippi.

1938: Methodist minister and founder of the National Federation for Decency in 1977 Donald E. Wildmon was born in Dumas, Mississippi.

Jan. 19

1923: Religion writer Martha Nelson was born in Merigold, Mississippi.

1939: The Wild Palms, a novel by William Faulkner, was published by Random House. Faulkner’s original title for the book, If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, was changed at the request of the publisher.

1939: U.S. Air Force officer and motivation consultant Will Clark was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

1946: It was announced that Richard Wright’s Black Boy had sold 195,000 copies in the Harper trade edition and 351,000 through the Book of the Month Club, making it the fourth best-selling nonfiction title for 1945.

1954: William Faulkner arrived in Rome after visiting England, France, and Switzerland. He was working on Land of the Pharaohs for Howard Hawks.

Jan. 20

1931: Political scientist Samuel H. Barnes was born in Mississippi.

1931: William Faulkner’s daughter, Alabama, died, nine days after being born prematurely.

Jan. 21

1815: Southwestern humorist Joseph Glover Baldwin was born at Friendly Grove factory near Winchester, Virginia.

1942: Walker Percy’s second cousin (and guardian) William Alexander Percy died in Greenville, Mississippi, from a stroke. Later that year, Walker would begin a three-year bout with tuberculosis.

Jan. 22

1985: Novelist Borden Deal died of a heart attack in Sarasota, Florida.

2000: Food writer Craig Claiborne died at East Hampton, New York.

Jan. 23

1893: Legislator, statesman, and Supreme Court justice L.Q.C. Lamar died in Georgia. He was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford.

Jan. 24

1933: Theologian Louis W. Hodges was born in Eupora, Mississippi.

1934: Advertising executive Peter Rodgers was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

1944: Editor and biographer James Morgan was born in Jackson, Mississippi.

Jan. 25

1893: Writer Lalla Scott was born in Collins, Mississippi.

1941: William Faulkner published “Go Down, Moses” in Collier’s.

1955: William Faulkner accepted the National Book Award for Fiction for A Fable.

Jan. 26

1948: Folklorist John Alan Lomax died in Greenville, Mississippi.

Jan. 27

1927: William Faulkner’s Mayday, a hand-lettered tale, was presented to Helen Baird, for whom it was written.

1969: The musical Peace, book and lyrics by playwright Timothy Reynolds with music by Al Carmines, a translation of a play by Aristophanes, was first produced Off-Broadway at the Astor Place Theatre in New York.

Jan. 28

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Jan. 29

1895: Poet Muna Lee was born in Raymond, Mississippi.

1997: English professor and biographer Thomas Daniel Young died of complications following abdominal surgery in Bay Springs, Mississippi.

Jan. 30

1935: William Faulkner incorporated the Okatoba Fishing and Hunting Club with two others.

1940: Poet Sterling D. Plumpp was born in Clinton, Mississippi.

1958: William Faulkner returned to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville for another semester as writer-in-residence.

1959: William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun opened in New York at the John Golden Theatre.

1977: Memoirist Malcolm Franklin died. He was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford, Mississippi, alongside his mother, Estelle Faulkner, and step-father, William Faulkner.

Jan. 31

1915: Sociologist Abbott Lamoyne Ferriss was born in Jonestown, Mississippi.

1929: The novel Sartoris, by William Faulkner, was published by Harcourt Brace. It was the first of many novels Faulkner set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi.

1940: Mammy Caroline (Callie) Barr died and William Faulkner delivered the eulogy at her funeral.

1941: Richard Wright, age 32, author of Native Son, won the Joel Springarn Medal awarded by the NAACP for the highest achievement “in any honorable field of endeavor.”

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