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On This Day in Mississippi Literary History


May 1

1914: Historian May Spencer Ringold was born in Winona, Mississippi.

1957: The Town, a novel by William Faulkner and volume two of the Snopes trilogy, was published by Random House.

May 2

1955: Pulitzer Prizes were awarded to William Faulkner for A Fable and to Tennessee Williams for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

1981: Journalist John Osborne died of emphysema in Washington, D.C.

May 3

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

1935: Garden writer Neil G. Odenwald was born in Heathman, Mississippi.

May 4

1699: Construction of Fort Maurepas was completed on the eastern shore of Biloxi Bay, near present-day Ocean Springs, as part of the first French settlement in what is now Mississippi under the command of Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville.

1943: Tennessee Williams signed a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. During the following months, while awaiting a studio assignment, he wrote The Gentleman Caller, which he later renamed The Glass Menagerie.

May 5

1700: Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, leader of the first French colony in what is now Mississippi, established a peace treaty with the Natchez Indians, who cede land on which to build Fort Rosalie near present-day Natchez, though the actual fort would not be built until 1716.

2002: Cable network C-SPAN aired a live broadcast on William Faulkner from Rowan Oak, his former home in Oxford, Mississippi, as part of its American Writers II: The Twentieth Century television series.

May 6

1942: William Faulkner published “The Bear” in the Saturday Evening Post.

May 7

1919: Writer and English professor Louise Blackwell was born in Benmore, Mississippi.

1932: William Faulkner arrived in Culver City, California as an MGM contract writer.

1989: Economist Earl Hamilton died in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

1998: Myres Smith McDougal, professor of law and one of the originators of the originators of the New Haven school of jurisprudence, died in North Branford, Connecticut.

May 8

1541: Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto arrived at the Mississippi River, nearly five months after entering present-day Mississippi. The massive river impeded his westward journey for nearly a month as his men built barges to cross the river.

1926: Theatre scholar Barbara Izard was born in Gulfport, Mississippi.

1932: Chemist John Fredric Garst was born in Jackson, Mississippi.

1944: Novelist and short story writer Jack Butler was born in Alligator, Mississippi.

1952: Playwright Beth Henley was born in Jackson, Mississippi.

1993: Theologian C. E. Autrey died in Pensacola, Florida.

May 9

1905: Writer and educator Miriam Weiss was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.

1987: Writer Willie Morris spoke at the dedication of the Confederate cemetery in Raymond, Mississippi.

May 10

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

1990: Walker Percy died of cancer in Covington, Louisiana.

May 11

1942: Go Down, Moses, an episodic novel by William Faulkner, was published under the mistaken title Go Down, Moses, and Other Stories by Random House. Faulkner’s original title was restored to subsequent editions.

1977: Tennessee Williams’ play Vieux Carre opened at St. James Theatre, New York. It closed after ruinous notices and only five performances.

May 12

1909: Theologian and philosopher James Brown was born in Laurel, Mississippi.

1953: Mystery and romance novelist Carolyn Haines was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

2001: The motion picture Big Bad Love, based on the short story collection by Larry Brown, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

May 13

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May 14

1885: Writer William Alexander Percy, who became legal guardian of his cousin Walker Percy after the death of Walker’s parents, was born in Greenville, Mississippi.

1892: English professor Palmer Hudson was born in Attala County, Mississippi.

1941: Poet and fiction writer Paul Ruffin was born in Millport, Alabama.

May 15

1904: Historian John C. Osborn was born in Learned, Mississippi.

1952: William Faulkner addressed the Delta Council in Cleveland, Mississippi.

May 16

1952: William Faulkner left Mississippi for a one-month trip to France, England, and Norway.

1990: Filmmaker and puppeteer Jim Henson, renowned as the creator of the popular Muppets characters, died of pneumonia in New York City.

May 17

1884: Historian J. F. H. Claiborne, “the father of Mississippi history” died, less than two months after a fire at his home in Natchez, Mississippi, destroyed the manuscript of what would have been volume two of his history of Mississippi.

1899: Economist Earl Hamilton was born in Houlka, Mississippi.

1922: Journalist Bill Minor was born.

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

1937: “A Piece of News” by Eudora Welty was accepted for publication by Southern Review. It appeared later heavily revised in A Curtain of Green.

May 18

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May 19

1909: Anne Clark, a former ambassador’s wife and author of several books, was born in Metcalfe, Mississippi.

1919: Science writer William C. Harrison was born in Corinth, Mississippi.

May 20

1919: Novelist and short story writer Berry Morgan was born in Port Gibson, Mississippi.

1925: English professor William Edward Walker was born in Meridian, Mississippi.

1936: Poet Glen R. Swetman was born in Biloxi, Mississippi.

1979: Eudora Welty’s Ida M’Toy was published by the University of Illinois Press in Urbana.

May 21

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May 22

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May 23

1899: Railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman embarked on a scientific expedition to Alaska, which became the subject of Looking Far North: The Harriman Expedition to Alaska, 1899, by Mississippi writer Kay Sloan and William H. Goetzmann.

May 24

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

1962: William Faulkner accepted the Gold Medal for Fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters in New York.

May 25

1904: According to a local legend, a “witch” broke out of some chain links surrounding her grave and burned down Yazoo City, Mississippi, a feat made famous in the book Good Ole Boy by Willie Morris.

1926: Poet and playwright John Crews was born in Monroe, Michigan.

1937: Novelist Jean Davison was born in Spanish Fort, Mississippi.

May 26

1736: French forces under Bienville were defeated by the Chickasaw in the Battle of Ackia, near present-day Tupelo.

1892: Poet Maxwell Bodenheim was born in Hermanville, Mississippi.

1925: Marketing professor Charles L. Broome was born in Prentiss, Mississippi.

1952: Cecil Kuhne, author of several books on river rafting, was born in Louisville, Mississippi.

May 27

1941: Richard Wright’s signed appeal against American intervention in the European war appeared in the New Masses.

May 28

1700: After having established a French colony in what is now Mississippi, Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur D’Iberville returned to France.

1916: Novelist Walker Percy was born in Birmingham, Alabama.

1921: Poet J. Edgar Simmons was born in Natchez, Mississippi.

1959: Filmmaker and “Muppet” creator Jim Henson married Jane Anne Nebel, a puppeteer and business executive.

1966: Novelist and memoirist Reuben G. Davis died in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

May 29

1925: Richard Wright graduated from Smith Robertson Junior High School, in Jackson, Mississippi, as valedictorian.

1989: Choral suite from the opera Pamelia, libretto by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith, was performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.

May 30

1961: William Faulkner’s grandson, A. Burks Summers, was born.

May 31

1925: William Faulkner published “The Kid Learns” in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

1939: Writer and musician Al Young was born in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

1941: William Faulkner published “The Tall Men” in the Saturday Evening Post.

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