- EXHIBITION OVERVIEW
- OBJECT LIST
I couldn't imagine this trip. It was the most fabulous of all. It was no longer east-west, but
On The Road
The South's diverse topography from
Virginia's rolling mountains and valleys to Louisiana's mysterious swamps to Florida's sultry
subtropics has provided rich inspiration for the imaginations of some of America's most
distinguished authors. Southern writers have emphasized connection with the land, and many of
their descriptions of their region are featured in this exhibit.
Photographs of the places they have etched into the American consciousness are coupled with
their words: the Mississippi River forever associated with Mark Twain, Ellen Glasgow's
Virginia, a Mississippi farm photographed by Eudora Welty, Thomas Wolfe's Asheville. Also
depicted are some of the most striking characters from the pens of southern writers: Margaret
Mitchell's Scarlett O'Hara, determining to survive at all costs; Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn,
escaping "sivilizing" by a trip downriver; Marjorie Kennan Rawlings's Jody Baxter, growing up
through affection for his fawn Flag.
"Gloucester," Natchez, Mississippi
Prints & Photographs Division (29)
O Magnet-South! O glistening perfumed South! . . .
I see where the live-oak is growing, I see where the yellow-pine, the scented bay-tree, the lemon
and orange, the cypress, the graceful palmetto,
I pass through sea-headlands and enter Pamlico sound through an inlet and dart my vision
O the cotton plant! the growing fields of rice, sugar, hemp!
Walt Whitman, "O Magnet South"
Valley farmland, near Wytheville, Virginia,
Marion Post Wolcott, Photographer
Prints & Photographs Division (29a)
The picturesque old homeplace sits so high on the hill that it leaves one
with the aftertaste of judgment in his or her mouth. Looking out from its
porch, one sees the panorama of the whole valley spread out like a picture,
with all its varied terrain (garden, pasture, etc.) stitched together by
spilt-oak fences resembling nothing so much as a green-hued quilt.
Lee Smith, Oral History
Mississippi River, Perthshire, Mississippi
Marion Post Wolcott, Photographer
Prints & Photographs Division (31)
And here for the first time I saw my beloved Mississippi River, dry in the summer haze, low
water, with its big rank smell that smells like the raw body of America itself because it washes
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
The Literary Map of the American South
Linda Ayriss, Illustrator
Los Angeles: Aaron Blake, 1988
Courtesy of Molly Maguire and Aaron Silverman
Geography & Map Division (32)
Tell About the South . . . What's it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why
do they live at all.
William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom
Elizabeth Mims Hoffman, Illustrator
Memphis: McClaren & Warren, 1976
Courtesy of the Tennessee Council of Teachers of English
Geography & Map Division (33)
When I tasted your big juicy
Black berries ignoring the rattle --
Snakes they said came to Cameron
Hill after the rain, I knew I
Had to have you Chattanooga
When I was in Lincoln Park
Listening to Fats Domino sing
I found my thrill on Blueberry
Hill on the loudspeaker
I knew you were mine Chattanooga.
Ishmael Reed, "Chattanooga"
Knoxville, Tennessee, 5th Avenue
Detroit: Detroit Publishing Company, ca. 1900
Prints & Photographs Division (34)
We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the time that I lived there so
successfully disguised to myself as a child. . . . There was still daylight, shining softly and with a
tarnish like the lining of a shell; and the carbon lamps lifted at the corners were on in the light,
and the locusts were started, and the fireflies were out, and a few frogs were flopping in the dewy
grass . . . from low in the dark . . . the regular yet spaced noises of the crickets, each a sweet cold silver
noise, threenoted, like the slipping each time of three matched links of a small chain.
James Agee, "Knoxville: Summer 1915"
A Literary Map of Arkansas
Judith DuPree, Illustrator
Arkansas Council of Teachers of English, 1967
Courtesy of the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English
Geography & Map Division (35)
There is a deep brooding
Old crimes like moss pend
from poplar trees.
The sullen earth is much too red for comfort.
Maya Angelou, "My Arkansas"
Matthew J. Armand, Designer
Baton Rouge: Louisiana Library Association and the Louisiana Council of
Teachers of English, 1992
Courtesy of the Louisiana Library Association and the Louisiana Council of
Teachers of English
Geography & Map Division (36)
She found herself upon the border of a field where the white, bursting cotton, with the dew upon
it, gleamed for acres and acres like frosted silver in the early dawn. . . .She stopped to find whence
came those perfumes that were assailing her senses with memories from a time far gone. There
they were, stealing up to her from the thousand blue violets that peeped out from green, luxuriant
beds. There they were, showering down from the big waxen bells of the magnolias far above her
head, and from the jessamine clumps around her. There were roses, too, without number. To
right and left palms spread in broad and graceful curves. It all looked like enchantment beneath
the sparkling sheen of dew.
Kate Chopin, "Beyond the Bayou"
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn From the Book by Mark
Everett Henry, Illustrator
Cleveland: Harris-Intertype, 1959
Geography & Map Division (38)
The first thing to see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull line--that was the woods on
t'other side--you couldn't make nothing else out; then a pale place in the sky; then more paleness,
spreading around; then the river softened up, away off, and wasn't black any more, but grey; you
could see little dark spots drifting along, ever so far away--trading scows and such things; and
long black streaks--rafts . . . and by and by you could see a streak on the water which you know by the
look of the streak that there's a snag there in a swift current which breaks on it and makes the
streak look that way; and you see the moist curl up off the water, and the east reddens up. . . .
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
A Literary Map of the Commonwealth of Virginia
Richmond: Virginia Association of Teachers of English, 1957
Courtesy of the Virginia Association of Teachers of English
Geography & Map Division (40)
One found a low hill, on which the reaped corn stood in stacks like the weapons of a vanished
army, while across the sunken road, the abandoned fields, overgrown with broomsedge and
life-everlasting, spread for several miles between worm fences which were half buried in
brushwood . . . there was an air of desolation in the neglected roads, in the deserted fields and in the
dim grey marshes beyond the low banks of the river.
Ellen Glasgow, The Miller of Old Church
Richmond, Virginia, and the James River,
H. P. Cook, Photographer
Prints & Photographs Division (41)
Riding down to Port Warwick from Richmond, the train begins to pick up speed on the outskirts
of the city, past the tobacco factories with their ever-present haze of acrid, sweetish dust and past
the rows of uniformly brown clapboard houses which stretch down the hilly street for miles, the
hundreds of rooftops all reflecting the pale light of dawn; past the suburban roads still sluggish
and sleepy with early morning traffic, and rattling swiftly now over the bridge which separates
the last two hills where in the valley below you can see the James River winding beneath its
acid-green crust of scum out beside the chemical plants and more rows of clapboard houses and
into the woods beyond.
William Styron, Lie Down In Darkness
Modern Mississippi Writers: A Map of Literary Mississippi
Wyatt Waters, Illustrator
Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1992
Used by permission
Geography & Map Division (42)
Up from the Mississippi soil
her sons and daughters came
from red-clay hills and delta land
the coastal plains
from barren rocks, from loam and sand
they came with hunger for the truth
for knowledge and the need to understand
the meaning of our living in this southern land.
Margaret Walker, "Ode on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Sixth President of Jackson
Asheville, North Carolina
Prints & Photographs Division (45)
The town was thrown up on the plateau like an encampment. There was nothing below him that
could resist time. There was no idea. Below him in a cup he felt that all life was held. . . . It seemed
to him suddenly that he had not come up on the hill from the town, but that he had come out of
the wilderness like a beast, and was straining now with steady beast-eyes at this little huddle of
wood and mortar which the wilderness must one day repossess, devour, cover over.
Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel