Rare Faulkner Letter Donated to Special Collections and Archives at Southeast


2010_Loc_Kent-Int_RareBooks-028-MCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 4, 2013 — Special Collections and Archives in Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University, in collaboration with the Center for Faulkner Studies, has acquired a rare Faulkner family letter from Ms. Pat Parker of Ste. Genevieve, Mo.

The letter was written by James W. Falkner (written as J.W. Falkner), the brother of William Faulkner’s great-grandfather, Colonel William Clark Faulkner, from a prisoner of war camp in Johnson’s Island near Sandusky Ohio, to an unidentified relative in Ste. Genevieve. In the letter, Falkner describes his capture by Union forces and the loss of his slaves due to the war.

Dr. Robert Hamblin, former director and current assistant director of the Center for Faulkner Studies, notes that the letter is extremely valuable because it provides Faulkner scholars with “indisputable evidence that William Faulkner’s ancestors were in southeast Missouri.”

Parker, a longtime resident of Ste. Genevieve, inherited the letter from her aunt, Anna Vorst. Parker contacted Special Collections and Archives in September and graciously offered to donate the letter. Parker noted that her aunt had taken classes at the Third District Normal School (now Southeast Missouri State University) in 1912, making the University the proper place to house the Faulkner letter. Representatives from Special Collections and Archives, Roxanne Dunn, the archival assistant, and her graduate assistant, A.J. Medlock, formally acquired the letter from Parker in Ste. Genevieve on Sept. 26.

For additional information, contact Special Collections and Archives at (573-651-2245) or email semoarchives@semo.edu. The Center for Faulkner Studies is also available for questions at (573) 986-6155) or cfs@semo.edu.