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Charles Johnson Faulk Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-514

Scope and Contents

The Charles Johnson Faulk papers contain the personal and business correspondence of the former executive editor of the Vicksburg Evening Post. There are also the research files Faulk compiled for his column ‘Neighborly Yours’, and a group of manuscripts and notes for various articles, short stories and the unpublished books ‘Dateline Vicksburg’ and ‘Phoenix’. The collection also includes copies of his ‘Neighborly Yours’ columns and a number of published articles and short stories. A group of audio cassette tapes feature recordings of interviews he conducted for his column. A large number of photographs, either taken by Faulk during his career or collected by him, are included in the collection. Among the prints and contact prints, there are a small number of negatives and transparencies, along with some glass plate negatives.

Series one, Personal, contains correspondence Faulk conducted with his family and friends along with other letters unrelated to his newspaper work. There are items concerning his wife and immediate family, as well as some financial documents. Faulk’s interest in his family history is reflected in a folder of genealogical material. There are also two folders concerning Faulk’s former colleague V. Blaine Russell and Russell’s son Stephen, both of whom Faulk helped after they were found to be incapable of looking after themselves.

The second series, Business, mostly encompasses material gathered in Faulk’s newspaper work. This includes correspondence about stories in the paper, notes for stories and his column ‘Neighborly Yours’, and 26 tapes of interviews he conducted between 1980 and 1989. There are an extensive number of files of research materials Faulk compiled for use in his writing. Copies of the newspaper which won Faulk and his staff the Pulitzer Prize in 1954 are included along with a report compiled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the 1953 Vicksburg tornado which features Faulk’s photographs. Folder 39 of Box 1 includes copies of photographs Faulk took of recaptured convicts in 1940 which he offered for sale, while Folder 42 is a wartime newsletter produced by the newspaper staff in 1943.

In series three, Writings, manuscripts of articles, short stories and books written by Faulk can be found. He wrote a large number of articles and short stories for his own newspaper and for submission to other publications between 1937 and 1984, and there is some correspondence related to them in Folder 74 of Box 2. Faulk completed the manuscript of an autobiographical book titled “Dateline Vicksburg” around 1981 but was unable to secure a publisher. Three complete drafts of the manuscript are included as well as correspondence with potential publishers. Though disappointed not to have his first book accepted, Faulk began work on a novel titled “Phoenix” about 1985 but he did not complete it. An outline and the draft of the first two chapters and a fragment of the third are included. The earlier manuscripts are typewritten but much of the later writing is done on computer and the manuscripts are in the form of printouts. Faulk wrote some biographical pieces on his wife, parents and grandfather, and kept a diary between November 1985 and May 1989.

Series four, Publications, includes copies of articles and short stories written by Faulk, including all his ‘Neighborly Yours’ columns from 1984 to 1990. There are also some articles written about Faulk and the transcript of an interview conducted with him in 1988 concerning his time with the Mississippi State Highway Department. A map and two publications feature his photographs, including the catalog of an exhibition of mid-south photographers in Memphis where his work was shown in 1981. Other publications reference his interest in local history and travel. Folder 21 of Box 4 contains some books on vocabulary formerly owned by V. Blaine Russell. Faulk collected copies and pages of newspapers dating back to 1896 and these are also included in the series, as well as a small number of prints.

The largest series is Series 5, Photographs. Faulk took many of his own photographs for his newspaper stories and columns. He collected photographs too and the series includes prints by older Vicksburg photographers J. B. Unglaub and J. Mack Moore. Faulk also obtained nine Moore glass plate negatives. A historic print of note is a circa 1864 photograph of the steamboat ‘Baltic’ of the Mississippi Marine Brigade moored at Vicksburg. The photograph collection—black and white prints predominantly—document in the main the people of Vicksburg and Warren County and their environment from the late 1930s to the 1980s. There are relatively few negatives in the series but a large number of contact prints give a good indication of the range of Faulk’s photographic activities. A smaller group of color prints and negatives are mainly family snapshots and travel photographs from 1979 to 1989. The series also contains a few slides and 13 metal printing plates of photographs taken in the 1940s.

Dates

  • 1864 - 1990
  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 1989

Creator

Access Restrictions

Open to all researchers.

Use Restrictions

Any requests for permission to publish, quote, or reproduce materials from this collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian for Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Mississippi State University as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical Information

Charles Johnson Faulk, Jr. was born on September 13, 1915, in Yokena, south of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and died on March 3, 1990, in Vicksburg. His parents were Charles Johnson Faulk, Sr. (1885-1963) and Alice Isabella Hullum Faulk (1893-1980). The family was poor but Faulk attended the local schools, Jefferson Davis Academy and Jett High School. Unable to afford a four-year college, he went to Copiah-Lincoln Junior College instead. Soon after graduating in 1935 he joined the staff of the Vicksburg Post-Herald as a cub reporter where he met his future wife, Elizabeth Sevier Young (1910-1987). They married in 1941 and had three children: Charles Johnson Faulk III (b. 1942), Jeneva Elizabeth Faulk Pickett (b. 1944) and Fred Young Faulk (1949-2003).

After serving briefly in the navy during World War II, Faulk returned to his newspaper career in Vicksburg, during which he often provided the photographs for his news stories. Rising to city editor, he and his staff won a Pulitzer Prize in 1954 for their efforts in producing the paper despite the devastating tornado that hit Vicksburg on December 5, 1953. The events of that evening at the newspaper became the basis of an episode of the television series Telephone Time called ‘Vicksburg, 5:35 PM’, broadcast in 1956 with Barry Atwater playing Faulk. In 1955 Faulk participated in a publishers and editors seminar at the American Press Institute at Columbia University in New York. In 1957 Faulk was managing editor when he left Vicksburg for a public relations job with the State Highway Department in Jackson, Mississippi. He was administrative assistant to the director of the department when he resigned in 1965 to return to the Vicksburg Evening Post as managing editor once again. The family bought the large house at 1617 Monroe Street that had belonged to Elizabeth’s aunt. On his retirement in 1985 he was the paper’s executive editor.

Faulk was a member and former president of the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Association. Outside his newspaper work, he was also involved with the Boy Scouts, and the Kiwanis and Lions Clubs. He was a director of the Vicksburg Hospital, and member of the local chamber of commerce and farm bureau. Faulk was an active member and elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Vicksburg.

Faulk contributed many news stories and articles to his own paper but he free-lanced for other newspapers and magazines too. He also did some commercial photography, including weddings and public relations. In the last years of his life, Faulk wrote a popular weekly column for the Vicksburg Sunday Post titled ‘Neighborly Yours’ which told the stories of local people and the town’s history. A collection of these columns was published after his death. Faulk was given an award by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society for the column in 1985. He also wrote short stories and during the 1950s he had two published in the magazines Future and Argosy. Later in life Faulk also wrote a book titled ‘Dateline Vicksburg’, which told his story as part of the broader story of change in Vicksburg and Mississippi during his lifetime. Unfortunately he was unable to secure a publisher for the book. Faulk had begun work on a novel set in rural Mississippi called ‘Phoenix’ when he died.



As an avid photographer, Faulk appreciated the value of the medium and he was instrumental in having the collection of noted Vicksburg photographer J. Mack Moore donated to the Old Court House Museum in Vicksburg. Faulk’s own photographic prowess was recognized when his work was exhibited with other noted photographers at the Memphis Academy of Arts in 1981. His photographs have also been featured in a photographic history of Vicksburg by Gordon Cotton.

Sources:

Charles Johnson Faulk papers.

Cotton, Gordon A. and Charles D. Mitchell (comps.). Neighborly Yours: A Selection of Sunday Newspaper Columns from the Vicksburg Sunday Post, 1991.

Cotton, Gordon. Vicksburg: Town and Country, 2001.

Extent

7.5 Cubic Feet (: 4 Record Cartons; 2 SMO folders; 2 OS folders; 3 rc, 1 ms. VMP boxes; 1 SVMP box; 5 SMOP folders; 1 VMGN box; OSN; 1 AV box; Artifacts.)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

Series 1. Personal - Box 1; Small Oversize Manuscripts Box 41; Artifacts 3

Series 2. Business - Boxes 1-2; Small Oversize Manuscripts Box 41; Oversize Manuscripts Box 13; AudioVisual Box 1; Artifacts 3

Series 3. Writings - Boxes 2-3; Small Oversize Manuscripts Box 41

Series 4. Publications - Boxes 3-4; Small Oversize Manuscripts Box 41; Oversize Manuscripts Box 13; Oversize Newspapers

Series 5. Photographs - Visual Materials: Photographs Boxes 31-34; Small Visual Materials: Photographs Box 4; Small Oversize Photographs Box 3; Box 4

Donor

Fred Faulk and Jeneva Faulk Pickett, April 1994.

Related Archival Materials

Charles J. Faulk Collection of Oral History Taped Interviews. Old Court House Museum, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Separated Materials

The following items have been separated to Special Collections:

1. U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Flood Control and Navigation Maps of the Mississippi River, 1977.

2. Images of the South: Visits with Eudora Welty and Walker Evans. Southern Folklore Reports, No. 1, 1977.

3. Early Newspapers: The Whig: 1860. No. 150. Vicksburg, Miss.: Eagle Press.

4. Early Newspapers: 1830s-1840s. No.148. Vicksburg, Miss.: Eagle Press.

5. Blake, Frances Gaither (ed.). Mary Savage Conner of Adams County, Mississippi: A Young Girl’s Diary. Redwood, Miss.: Blake, 1982.

6. Ferris, Bill. Ray Lum: Mule Trader, An Essay. Memphis: Center for Southern Folklore, 1977.

7. Hurley, Jack & Nancy Hurley. Southern Eye, Southern Mind: A Photographic Inquiry. Catalogue of a Joint Exhibit, Memphis, Tennessee, 29 March-30 April 1981. Memphis Academy of Arts, 1981.

8. Russell, Edward. Rivers U.S.A, Champion Papers, 1976.



9. DVD: Telephone Time, Vol. 1: 'The Golden Junkman/Vicksburg, 5:35 PM’.

Processing Information

The papers were placed in acid-free folders and the original folders disposed of. Documents were separated from the photographs and the latter were reorganized, with the negatives separated from the prints. A number of prints were stuck together and had to be soaked in water to separate. Some published materials were separated to Special Collections. Newspaper clippings were copied on to acid-free paper and disposed of, including the binders containing the ‘Neighborly Yours’ column clippings. Duplicate items and envelopes were also disposed of.
Title
Charles Johnson Faulk Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Gerald Chaudron
Date
November 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts Repository

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