Greenville a literary hub? It is said that Greenville boasts “more published writers per capita” than any other town in the nation. As someone who lived forty five minutes from Greenville all her life this struck me as new news. To me, Greenville represented the monthly trip to Wal-Mart to fill up on groceries, the once a year trip to a basketball tournament for my mom to watch me sit on a bench, and the place our parents warned us about after dark. Growing up in the South Delta names such as LeRoy Percy Park, Foote, Mississippi, and Percy, Mississippi represented places that I knew well. Their stories on the other hand remained left out of my education. Graduating with a History degree, which included a Mississippi History course, I feel somewhat confident in my knowledge of mules and cotton, but not so much in the case of Mississippi literary works. Is our need of stately and regional knowledge overshadowing our rich literary history? I personally think that reading Willie Morris’ or Shelby Foote’s collection offers you a great insight into Mississippi history.
After aiding Emily in collecting and exhibiting Mr. McCormick’s amazing collection, I became aware of a different part of Mississippi history. Mr. McCormick not only saved valuable works by Mississippi authors, but works by friends. The sense of friendship and support among Cohn, Percy, Haxton, Foote, Lowry, Taulbert, and so many more stands apparent in his collection. Reading over the sweet messages and notes written by the various authors’ to the Book Inn added even more importance. I feel that everyone will appreciate these works, no matter if a published author or just an avid reader and story lover like me. The Mississippi Literary Collection acknowledges that Greenville, and Mississippi in general, strive to overcome stereotypes and exist as a home to creative and gifted people. Each of these books and authors tell their own unique story, but together (thanks to Mr. McCormick and the donors that made it possible to secure the collection at Delta State) tell the story of our people and history.
Gathering the collection from the Book Inn = 72+ hours
Cataloging books and developing the display = 300+ hours
Assemble and display the literary collection = 6+ hours
Public access to Mississippi writers, creative stories, and community pride = Priceless
Till we meet again,
Fawn Horton, Delta State Archives Graduate Assistant