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On This Day in Mississippi Literary History


March 1

1922: Con Leslie Sellers, Jr., who wrote more than 100 novels in several genres using different pseudonyms such as Robert Crane and Lee Raintree, was born in Shubuta, Mississippi.

1925: William Faulkner published “Jealousy” in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

1940: Richard Wright published Native Son by Harper and Brothers. Book of the Month Club offered it as one of its two main selections. In three weeks it had sold 215,000 copies.

1952: Mystery writer Nevada Barr was born in Yerington, Nevada.

1958: William Faulkner arrived in Princeton to spend two weeks at the University for Council on the Humanities.

March 2

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March 3

1906: Mystery writer William T. Brannon was born in Meridian, Mississippi.

1938: Sociologist Charles F. Longino, Jr., was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

March 4

1921: Marionettes, a one-act play by William Faulkner, was first produced at the University of Mississippi.

1989: Historian E. Wilson Lyon died in Pomona, California, following a long illness.

1993: Ann Ruff, writer of numerous travel books about Texas, died.

March 5

1932: William Faulkner published “Turnabout” in the Saturday Evening Post; it was the basis for a film called Today We Live, which premiered in Oxford at the Lyric Theatre April 12, 1933.

March 6 1863: Suffragist and state legislator Belle Kearney was born in Madison County, Mississippi.
March 7

1767: Jean Baptiste de Bienville, long-time governor and leader of the Louisiana colony under French rule, died in France.

1889: Novelist and short story writer Ben Ames Williams was born in Macon, Mississippi.

1908: Historian W. B. Hamilton was born in Jackson, Mississippi.

1958: Nature writer Rick Bass was born in Forth Worth, Texas.

1960: First telecast on CBS-TV of Tomorrow, based on the short story by William Faulkner and directed by Robert Mulligan with a screenplay by Horton Foote.

March 8

1933: Poet, lecturer, and management consultant James A. Autry was born in Memphis, Tennessee.

2005: Poet and storyteller Ahmos Zu-Bolton II died at Howard University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

March 9

1926: Memoirist and novelist Reuben G. Davis married Helen Dick.

March 10

1959: Tennessee Williams’ play Sweet Bird of Youth premiered in New York at the Martin Beck Theatre. It ran for 383 performances.

1991: Poet Etheridge Knight died of lung cancer in Indianapolis, Indiana.

March 11

1849: Writer Eliza Jane Poitevant, who wrote under the pen name Pearl Rivers, was born in Gainesville, Mississippi.

March 12

1803: The town of Port Gibson, Mississippi, was established.

1910: Baptist minister James L. Sullivan was born in Silver Creek, Mississippi.

1935: Civil rights activist and theology professor David Kirk was born in Kirkville, Mississippi.

1954: Children’s book writer Jim McCafferty was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.

1963: Novelist Randall Kenan was born in Brooklyn, New York.

March 13 1936: Poet Margaret Walker received notice to report to work for the WPA Writer’s Project in Chicago as a fulltime employee.
March 14

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March 15

1936: Poet James Whitehead was born in St. Louis, Missouri.

1982: Actor James Earl Jones married Cecilia Hart.

March 16

1946: Baptist minister Thomas Julian Nettles was born in Brandon, Mississippi.

March 17

1901: Journalist Turner Catledge was born in Ackerman, Mississippi.

1921: Historian David L. Smiley was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

1933: Civil rights activist Myrlie Evers was born Myrlie Van Dyke in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

1980: First telecast of Barn Burning, based on the short story by William Faulkner, on PBS-TV. The production was directed by Peter Werner with a screenplay by Horton Foote; it starred Tommy Lee Jones as Ab Snopes. Faulkner’s nephew Jimmy Faulkner played the role of Major DeSpain.

March 18

1937: Tennessee WilliamsCandles to the Sun premiered in St. Louis, performed by Willard Holland’s Mummers.

1957: William Faulkner arrived in Athens on a two-week mission for the State Department. He accepted the Silver Medal of the Greek Academy while there.

March 19

1917: U.S. Air Force pilot Eddie H. Lee was born in Magee, Mississippi.

1934: Theologian Charles H. Talbert was born in Jackson, Mississippi.

1936: Eudora Welty’s stories “Death of a Traveling Salesman” and “Magic” were accepted for publication by Manuscript 3 (May-June 1936, 21-29).

1945: Food editor and writer Judith Hill was born in Gulfport, Mississippi.

1953: Tennessee Williams’ play Camino Real premiered at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York.

March 20

1930: Texas travel writer Ann Ruff was born in Aberdeen, Mississippi.

1962: The last studio portraits of William Faulkner were taken at Jack Cofield’s studio in Oxford, Mississippi.

March 21

1946: Shakespeare scholar Bruce R. Smith was born in Jackson, Mississippi.

1957: Tennessee Williams’ play Orpheus Descending opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York, starring Maureen Stapleton and Cliff Robertson.

1997: James Meredith, the first African American to enroll and graduate from the University of Mississippi, presented his papers to the University of Mississippi where they are maintained by the Special Collections branch of the J.D. Williams Library.

March 22

2000: Sociologist Romeo Benjamin Garrett died in East Peoria, Illinois.

March 23

1972: The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty was published by Random House in New York.

March 24

1912: Journalist Walter G. Cowan was born in Bond, Mississippi.

1929: Music teacher Mary Margaret Clark was born in McComb, Mississippi.

1931: Historian John D. W. Guice was born in Biloxi, Mississippi.

1941: A production of Native Son, based on the book by Richard Wright, opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre, starring Canada Lee, in a benefit performance for the NAACP.

1944: Poet and journalist Si Dunn was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

1955: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams premiered at the Morosco Theatre in New York; it was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Burl Ives, Barbara Bel Geddes, and Ben Gazzara.

March 25

1736: After Bienville decided to fight the Chickasaw on two fronts, French forces from the Illinois country under Pierre d’Artaguette were defeated by the Chickasaw in the Battle of Ougoula Tchetoka. Some twenty Frenchmen, including d’Artaguette, were captured and burned to death.

1931: Journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett died of uremic poisoning in Chicago, Illinois.

1935: The novel Pylon, by William Faulkner, was published by Harrison Smith and Robert Haas.

1977: Actress Dorris Johnson, who edited a collection of letters by her husband, acclaimed screenwriter and journalist Nunnally Johnson, died.

1981: Historian Ray Mathis died of cancer in Troy, Alabama.

March 26

1911: Playwright Tennessee Williams [Thomas Lanier Williams] was born in Columbus, Mississippi.

1938: Novelist Robert H. Herring was born in Charleston, Mississippi.

1962: Novelist Phillip Thompson was born in Columbus, Mississippi.

1969: Novelist John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in Biloxi, Mississippi.

1989: U.S. Marine Corps office and writer Lewis W. Walt died in Gulfport, Mississippi, after a long illness.

March 27

1959: Novelist and English professor David Galef was born in New York.

1968: Tennessee Williams’ play Seven Descents of Myrtle premiered at Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. It ran for 29 performances.

March 28

1909: Historian James Franklin Hopkins was born in Noxapater, Mississippi.

1942: William Faulkner published “Two Soldiers” in the Saturday Evening Post.

1963: Novelist John Faulkner died in Oxford, Mississippi, and was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford. Because of disagreement over the spelling of his name, it is spelled “Falkner” on one side of the stone, “Faulkner” on the other, and “Fa(u)lkner” on the flat stone topping his grave.

1991: Speech professor and broadcaster Sara Lowrey died.

March 29

1928: Historian Irvine H. Anderson was born in Natchez, Mississippi.

1940: Eudora Welty received word that she had been refused a Guggenheim Fellowship. In March 1942, she won one for $1200.

1950: Novelist and screenwriter Rudy Wilson was born in Meridian, Mississippi.

1999: Psychiatrist Garfield Tourney died in Jackson, Mississippi.

March 30

1923: Adult education professor Curtis Ulmer was born in Rose Hill, Mississippi.

1947: English professor Beverly Taylor was born in Grenada, Mississippi.

1949: Model and entrepreneur Naomi Sims was born in Oxford, Mississippi.

March 31

1936: Eudora Welty’s exhibition of photographs appeared in New York’s Photographic Galleries.

1944: Fiction writer Eugene R. Dattel was born in Greenwood, Mississippi.

1945: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams opened in New York City at the Playhouse Theatre. It took 24 curtain calls and won the New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award for best play.

1950: Mystery writer Louisa Dixon was born in Stamford, Connecticut.

1962: William Faulkner published “Hell Creek Crossing” in the Saturday Evening Post.

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