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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

William Faulkner's Family

Remember our post back in June of 2012 when we shared some photos of Eudora Welty and her family? Well, we happened across some family photos of another famous Mississippi author that we'd like to share with you--William Faulkner!

"Faulkner's great-grandfather, Colonel William Clark Falkner, the model for the fictional Colonel John Sartoris. (Faulkner added the u to his surname in 1918.)" (128).

"Faulkner's grandfather, John Wesley Thompson Falkner, the model for Bayard Sartoris in the Yoknapatawpha novels" (128).

"Faulkner (back row, center) with his three younger brothers, Murry (left), John, and Dean (in front), ca. 1911-1912" (129).

"Faulkner with his daughter, Jill, born 24 June 1933" (155).

"The Faulkners [William's wife, Estelle, on the right] at Jill's wedding to Paul D. Summers, 21 August 1954" (186).

Looking for a book or two to read during the holidays? Stop by the Mississippi Library Commission and check out some of his books! For more things Faulkner related, check out our special "813.42-Faulkner" Pinterest board.

Antwerp, Margaret A., ed. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol 2. Ann Arbor, MI: Gale Research Company, 1982. Print. Documentary Series: An Illustrated Chronicle.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Old Saint Nick

Yesterday our Elf on the Shelf was elf-napped by Krampus. The ransom was paid and Peppermint was returned intact. All's well that ends well, but what in the world is a Krampus?

It turns out that Krampus hangs out in Austria and surrounding countries. Acting as St. Nikolaus's sidekick, he carries around a bag of sticks with which to punish all the naughty children. (This sounds much more painful than a lump of coal!)

St. Nikolaus Day is traditionally celebrated on December 6, the recognized date of St. Nikolaus of Myra's death and his feast day. One of his legends is explained thus:

A poor father had three daughters but not enough money to give each one a dowry. So he sent them out onto the street to earn money as prostitutes. The bishop had pity on them, and on three consecutive nights he threw three pieces of gold into the poor father's small room, helping all three girls to get a good husband. In one version of the legend, he threw the pieces of gold through the chimney. They fell into the socks of the girls, who had hung them there to dry. This version is the basis for the tradition of placing shoes in front of the door or hanging stockings by the fireplace to be filled.
St. Nikolaus has evolved into bringing treats to those who have been good on the eve of his feast day and is the basis for Santa Claus. The night before his feast day, December 5, is sometimes called Krampusnacht (Krampus Night). It seems that our villain is well-versed in holiday lore!

Want to keep tabs on Peppermint this month? Check out her album on our Facebook page.

Leisure. (2006). In Pop culture Germany! media, arts, and lifestyle. Retrieved from

Thursday, December 5, 2013

We're All Mad Here

We have several books compiled of articles from old Mississippi newspapers. The entries range from the mundane to the bizarre. For example, on November 29, 1894, the Southern Sentinel in Tippah County, Mississippi, ran the following blurb:

Henry, the 12 year old son of J. L. Walker was attacked in the street opposite Dr. Alexander's  resident last Friday by a dog supposed to be afflicted with the rabies. The animal reared up and evidently made for the boy's throat but Henry threw out his arm and the dog's teeth were buried into the left forearm. After biting the boy the dog fled in a northern direction and was afterwards slain by some parties near Faulkner.
Mr. Walker carried his son that same afternoon to Mrs. Palmer's and applied the mad stone which is said to have stuck for ten consecutive hours.
Henry does not complain and it is to be hoped that no serious consequence will result.
You'll be relieved to hear that Henry survived his dog bite. Here he is in the 1900 census, with his sister Noverta:

What conclusion must I draw from this? The mad stone cured the rabies! What is a mad stone, you ask? According to Merriam-Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary, it is:
a stony concretion (as a hair ball taken from the stomach of a deer) supposed formerly in folklore and by some physicians to counteract the poisonous effects of the bite of an animal (as one affected with rabies)
Fans of the Harry Potter books will recognize the mad stone by a different name, as in this passage where Snape reprimands Harry:

"A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons."
In 1885, only nine years before Henry Walker's accident, Louis Pasteur successfully treated a boy bitten by a rabid dog with a newly developed rabies vaccine. Mad stones eventually fell by the wayside as the much more effective vaccine became more widely available and well-known.

Lockhart, Tommy. Biographical Notes from the Files of the Southern Sentinel, Ripley, Mississippi, Tippah County. Old Timer Press, 1977.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic, 1999.
Madstone. (2005). In Merriam-Webster's medical desk dictionary, revised edition. Retrieved from
"Louis Pasteur." Scientists: Their Lives and Works. Gale, 2006. Biography in Context. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
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