As scoutmaster, author William Faulkner led trips to summer camp

Author William Faulkner served as a scoutmaster for a time in Oxford, Mississippi, a duty that included leading trips to a summer camp in Waterford.

Blogger Jack Mayfield made note of this in a recent Oxford’s Olden Days post.

Joseph Blotner, in his book Faulkner: A Biography wrote that Faulkner would often “transport the scouts in his car, jamming them in on repeated trips to get the troops and its equipment to the depot for the train trip to summer camp at Waterford, twenty miles to the north, or to Warren Lakes, near Holly Springs.”

Faulkner, Blotner wrote, was known for telling “eerie stories around the campfire, which the boys listened to with horrified delight.”

On one particular camping trip, the scouts decided to slip a grass snake they caught into his bedroll and watched as he leaped up “with a burst of profanity.”

“I’m sorry, boys,” he said. “That snake must have wanted to find a warm place out of the cold.”

Faulkner today is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature and though his work was published as early as 1919 and during the 1920s and ’30s he was relatively unknown until he was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature. His novel The Sound and the Fury is ranked sixth on Modern Library’s list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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