William Faulkner purchased what was then known as “The
Bailey Place,” a large primitive Greek Revival house
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.
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
of Mississippi so it could become a place for people from
all over the world to learn about her fathers work.
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 Visitors 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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