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'Eudora Welty: Mississippi Daughter' exhibit in Mitchell Memorial Library. Photo credit: Jim Tomlinson/MSU Libraries.

"Eudora Welty: Mississippi Daughter," an exhibit in conjunction with Mississippi State University's Maroon Edition, was on display on Mitchell Memorial Library's 2nd and 3rd floors through December 2011 and highlighted the literary career of M ississippi's much-honored author.

Historian and author Hunter McElva Cole of Brandon, Miss., collected thousands of Welty items, beginning with his early work on a Welty bibliography, and through that work Cole and Welty developed a friendship that continued through their association at Millsaps College. This new MSU Libraries exhibit showcased letters, manuscripts, photographs, interviews, speeches, published works, articles, and memorabilia collected by Cole. Included were personal and revealing Welty letters to Cole concerning her use of the name "McElva" for the character "Judge McElva" in The Optimist's Daughter, first published in The New Yorker in 1969.

As Executive Director of the Mississippi Writer's Association, Jo Barksdale of Jackson, Miss., planned and carried out a Eudora Welty Festival in 1995 and also spearheaded an effort to purchase Welty's childhood home on Congress Street and make it into a writer's center. Photographs and other materials concerning the Welty celebrations in Jackson from the Barksdale Papers were also represented in the exhibit.

The collection of Dr. Noel Polk of Starkville, professor and author of the most comprehensive bibliography of Welty works, contains many unique Welty works, including autographed books, journals, programs, interviews, and other memorabilia. On exhibit were selected Polk Collection items, including foreign language editions of Welty works.

The Maroon Edition Committee was particularly pleased to include exhibit materials documenting Welty's connections with MSU. A program and clippings documented the selection of Welty as Outstanding Mississippi Woman by the President's Commission on the Status of Women in 1983. Also loaned to this exhibit by Dr. Nancy Hargrove were photographs and an autographed volume of short stories from Welty's 1987 MSU visit for a symposium sponsored by the Giles Distinguished Professors.

As part of the exhibit, MSU Libraries' Special Collections Department, located on Mitchell Memorial Library's third floor, featured a "Browse Eudora Welty Editions" shelf. "We want visitors to be able to handle and appreciate some of the beautiful printed Eudora Welty items, such as greeting cards, keepsake editions, and special editions of Welty photographs and writings," said Manuscripts Coordinator Mattie Abraham. Visitors to Special Collections could also "Listen to Eudora Welty" via audiotapes of The Optimist's Daughter, several short stories and interviews, and videotapes of Welty readings and special occasions.

For additional information on the Welty exhibit, please contact Mattie Abraham at 325-3848. For hours of operation and more information on MSU Libraries, please visit http://library.msstate.edu/.



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MSU, Mississippi's flagship research university, is online at www.msstate.edu.