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Thursday, May 14, 2015

All About Percy

William Alexander Percy was born on this day, May 14, in 1885 in Greenville, Mississippi. Perhaps most well-known nowadays for his memoir, Lanterns on the Levee, he led a rich and varied life.
  • His father was LeRoy Percy, a U.S. Senator from Mississippi and a hunting buddy of Teddy Roosevelt.
  • Percy went to Harvard Law School and practiced law in Greenville, but he also spent much of his time writing poetry. He produced four volumes of poetry before writing his memoir.
  • During World War I, he was awarded the Croix de Guerre and bronze and silver stars.
  • Percy was appointed as the head of the Washington County Relief Committee during the Great Flood of 1927. To learn more about the flood, we highly recommend Rising Tide by John M. Barry.
  • When their parents died, he became the guardian of his cousins Walker, LeRoy, and Phinizy Percy. Walker Percy, another great Mississippi author, actually began his friendship with future author Shelby Foote in Greenville.
  • He even wrote a hymn that was adopted by the Episcopal Hymnal 1982. Hymn number 661 by Percy starts with the words: They cast their nets in Galilee just off the hills of brown...
  • The public library in Greenville is called the William Alexander Percy Library.
  • William Alexander Percy passed away January 21, 1942 in Greenville, Mississippi.
If you would like to read William Alexander Percy's poetry or to find out more about his life, stop by the Mississippi Library Commission or your local public library!

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