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William Faulkner’s
Rowan Oak

Rowan Oak

Photo by John B. Padgett

The Front Portico and brick terracing of Rowan Oak.



In 1930 William Faulkner purchased what was then known as “The Bailey Place,” a large primitive Greek Revival house that pre-dated the Civil War, standing on four acres of cedars and hardwood. He was fascinated with its history, knowing that it had been built by a Colonel Sheegog from Tennessee who settled in Oxford when it was a tiny frontier settlement of the 1840s. Faulkner renamed it “Rowan Oak.” He optioned the surrounding acreage and settled in with his wife Estelle and her two children from a previous marriage, Malcolm and Victoria. Within a few years his own daughter Jill was born, and Rowan Oak was the family home of the Faulkners until 1962, the year of Faulkner’s death. In 1972, Jill Faulkner Summers sold the house to the University of Mississippi so it could become a place for people from all over the world to learn about her father’s work.

Click for larger image

Lilies behind the house.

Rowan Oak was William Faulkner’s private world, in reality and imagination. His imagination was stimulated by local stories of Indians, runaway slaves, old Colonels, spinsters who gave china-painting lessons, and his own memories of coming of age in a South torn between old ways and modern development. Faulkner’s years spent at Rowan Oak were productive as he set stories and novels to paper, culminating in his being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950 for his literary genius. Faulkner remains today the most-studied author in the world, with more books, articles, and papers written about his work than any other writer besides Shakespeare.

From “A Visitor’s Guide to Rowan Oak,” a brochure produced by the University Publishing Center at the University of Mississippi and partially funded by the Oxford Tourism Council.

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How to cite this page (MLA style):

Padgett, John B. “William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak.” William Faulkner on the Web. 17 August 2006. 22 August 2019 <http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~egjbp/faulkner/rowanoak.html>.

This page was last modified on Thursday, August 17, 2006, at 03:21 PM CDT.
Copyright © 1995 – 2006 by John B. Padgett.
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