Photos from Mississippi: A Guide


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The following items are drawn from the William Faulkner Foundation Collection at the University of Virginia's Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library (
Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Photo Gallery: from Mississippi, A Guide to the Magnolia State

This Guide was "compiled and written by the Federal Writers' Project," a division of the Works Progress Administration, one of the Depression-era federal programs created by Franklin Roosevelt's administration in the 1930s. It was published in 1938 as part of the American Guide Series, and sponsored by the Mississippi Agricultural and Industrial Board. The nine photographs below are among the volume's 74 illustrations, and have been digitized from the copy of the book that Faulkner himself owned. As the editors of the Guide say in their "Preface," the book's emphasis is on "the Mississippi farmer - the whites of the Central and Tennessee Hills, the Negroes of the Delta": this "agricultural majority" comprises "more than four-fifths of the State's population," though it "has had no place in portrayals of Mississippi life by William Faulkner." The only Faulkner works the book cites in its Bibliography, however, are Sanctuary and Absalom, Absalom! (Faulkner used portions of the Guide's section on Jackson in Requiem for a Nun [1951].)

Two of the photographs - the first and the eighth - were taken by Eudora Welty, a fellow novelist and Mississippian; Welty worked as a WPA photographer before becoming a writer.

Gathering for a Political Rally       A Country Church       En Route to the Cotton House

A 'Dog-Trot' Cabin       McGahey House, a Black Prairie Home       Taking Cotton to the Gin

A Cabin in the Cotton       A One-Mule-Power Cane Press       A Hardwood Sawmill

SOURCE: Mississippi, a Guide to the Magnolia State, 1938.

      Citing this source:
"Photographic Re-presentations of Faulkner's World," Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, (Date added to project: 2019)