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Rowan Oak: Home of Author William Faulkner in Oxford, Mississippi

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Rowan Oak (William Faulkner House) in Oxford, Mississippi

Rowan Oak (William Faulkner House) in Oxford, Mississippi

Town of Oxford, Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi, is the home to the University of Mississippi and hosts the site of the famous published author William Faulkner's residence—Rowan Oak.

My mother, niece, and I made that discovery many years ago while traveling. We had stopped in Oxford for a few days to visit my mother's dear friend dating back to their high school days. As husbands and then children were added to each family, each honorary "aunt and uncle" had even become godparents to one child from each family. My youngest brother (my niece's father) had been the godchild to Aunt Lois and Uncle Jim.

Thus we had a few fun days of visiting, sightseeing, and much laughter, which was always a component of getting together with these dear folks.

Rowan Oak

While touring the town my aunt thought we might like to see Rowan Oak. It is a gorgeous place! In 1968 Rowan Oak became a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It is also on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

William Faulkner purchased this sprawling plantation type home built in the primitive Greek Revival style in the 1930s. It was not in the best of shape and necessitated renovations over the years, much of it he did himself. Some of them included brick terraces. An office adhering to William Faulkner's specifications after being awarded the Pulitzer Prize was a vital one. Gardens and a privacy wall were another addition made to their home after becoming better known as a recognized author, and as the money for his efforts increased.

The 32 acres of land afforded this famous author much space and privacy to craft his art...that of authoring novels, short stories, and even screenplays for the movies. Faulkner lived there until he died in 1962.

William Faulkner named his home after a mythical rowan oak tree, which supposedly would ward off malicious spirits, also providing safety, protection, peace, and refuge to occupants. It is a charming legend.

The four acres of landscaped grounds and the remaining ones left in a natural wooded state are magnificent! Originally called Bailey's Woods, William Faulkner played in this wooded area as a boy and had come to love it.

The Rowan Oak grounds are open from dawn to dusk daily and are well worth a stroll. The home is available to view from 10 AM to 4 PM Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 PM to 4 PM on Sundays. In addition to Mondays, a few other holidays will also find the home closed to the public. Call this number to arrange special tours: (662) 234-3284.

William Faulkner

William Faulkner married Estelle, his long time love after she was divorced. She brought a daughter Victoria and a son Malcolm into the marriage. Estelle and William had two children. Sadly one daughter survived only a few days. Their other child Jill got married in the parlor inside of Rowan Oak and became Mrs. Jill Faulkner Summers.

The funeral service for William Faulkner was in that same parlor, according to written accounts. The Faulkner family lived in their beloved home for over 40 years. In 1973 the University of Mississippi acquired the property of Rowan Oak from Mrs. Summers, and many of the original belongings are still inside the house.

Faulkner Books and Short Stories

Inside of William Faulkner's study written in graphite and red on the plastered walls is an outline of one of his Pulitzer prize-winning novels titled A Fable. This novel was completed in 1954, and the Pulitzer prize awarded in 1955. He received another Pulitzer prize posthumously in 1963 for The Reivers (1962).

The old Underwood typewriter still sits on top of Faulkner's desk, where he usually typed his novels and short stories after composing them with notations made on paper. However, it makes for a fascinating and unique eye-catching artistic touch to the study's walls and, indeed, a conversation piece! Did he run out of paper that particular day? Using the walls is not a usual writing practice for most authors.

Some other stories written by William Faulkner are the following to give the reader a sampling of his works: The Sound and the Fury published in 1929, Absalom, Absalom published in 1936, As I Lay Dying published in 1930, and Light in August published in 1932.

Much of what William Faulkner chose to make as subject matter for his books relate to the "real" south as he saw it from history and in his mind. Just as the homestead of Rowan Oak predated the Civil War, literature created by Faulkner bears a stamp by a specific time frame of reference.

Faulkner also wrote short stories, and here is a sampling by no means inclusive of some of those titles: A Rose for Emily, Red Leaves, That Evening Sun, and Dry September.

Hollywood Career

Many artists and writers struggle for money. William Faulkner got a few breaks along the way. Being awarded a Pulitzer Prize helped. When he was contacted to start writing some screenplays for Hollywood this greatly helped his finances.

Writer in Residence

Faulkner was a writer in residence at the University of Virginia from 1957 to 1962. Because of that relationship, most of his manuscripts reside now at that institution of higher learning.

Nobel Prize Winner

William Faulkner was honored for his writing and picked up his Nobel prize in Stockholm in 1950 when he was 52 years old. He would only live another 10 years.

Postage Stamp Honoree

The U.S. Post Office issued a 22 cent stamp on August 3, 1987 in William Faulkner's honor.

Located just south of the main square in Oxford, one can walk through the woods to enjoy the University museums and Rowan Oak if one allots enough time. The University of Mississippi campus is also a lovely spot to visit. Thanks to my Aunt Lois and her daughter Julie who accompanied my mother, niece, and me on this visit into Oxford, we came away from that vacation with a feeling of the place's scenic beauty history of one of its famous past residents.

Rowan Oak has about 23,000 visitors annually. I would heartily recommend a visit to the home of the well-known author William Faulkner if your travels ever take you to this lovely Mississippi town.

Location of Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are always welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 20, 2020:

Hi Cheryl,

The William Faulkner home and estate are definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the area. Thanks for your comment.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on August 20, 2020:

Thank you for this informative article. What a beautiful home.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 16, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

Rowan Oaks is indeed a beautiful home. I am glad that people from around the globe can see where William Faulkner lived and worked.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 15, 2020:

Rowan Oaks is beautiful. Thanks for sharing some insights into the life of William Faulkner, the celebrated author and his home.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2020:

Hi Dale,

I am confident that you would enjoy visiting Oxford, Mississippi, to be able to view Faulkner's home, among other things. Road trips and discoveries made that way can be so much fun.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 03, 2020:

We've never been down that way (yet) but it sure sounds like it has a lot of interesting things to offer. The wife and I are fans of taking road trips to see local areas of interest so I'll talk to her about planning something down that way.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 29, 2020:

MG Singh,

I am so pleased to be able to show you photos of the home of William Faulkner, since he is one of your favorite authors. It is in such a beautiful setting.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on July 28, 2020:

What a beautiful article about William Faulkner's house. He is one of my favorite authors and reading this article made me nostalgic about his books.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 26, 2020:

Hi Denise,

It was fun getting to see the home of William Faulkner in the town of Oxford, Mississippi. It is a beautiful property.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 25, 2020:

It must have been a pleasant trip and fun seeing such beautiful and historic things.

Blessings,

Denise

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 04, 2016:

Hi Susie,

You can tell that it is not necessary to dress up like you mentioned from looking at how we were dressed. But I catch your meaning about it being a lovely place. Glad you enjoyed watching at least a part of the video.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on March 03, 2016:

What a great old place. I watched part of the video to see the inside of the house and am impressed with the old furnishings. I would feel like I needed to wear a long fancy dress just to step foot in it. Its lovely, Peggy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 24, 2013:

Hi pstraubie48,

As a William Faulkner fan, you would truly enjoy seeing the home he lived in and did much of his work as well as the gorgeous grounds surrounding the house. Thanks for your comment and the vote.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 23, 2013:

.I felt almost as if I had made the trip. I am a Faulkner fan but have never visited this place. I am fascinated by such places as it gives me a closer look into the life of the writer. And how like him to name it as he did.

Great hub, Peggy.

Voted up

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 25, 2012:

Hi Eddy,

Getting to visit the home and beautiful extensive grounds of the author William Faulkner was a treat. Oxford, Mississippi is a pretty town as all of the University of Mississippi students and people living there know. I am so glad that we got to see it. Thanks for your comment and vote.

Eiddwen from Wales on October 25, 2012:

Wow Peggy what a wonderful hub I am saving and voting up.

Enjoy your day my friend.

Eddy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 15, 2012:

Hi unknown spy,

Yes, William Faulkner's home is truly beautiful and he was certainly an interesting man and author. Now associated with the University of Mississippi campus, it is a great place for students to stroll and enjoy nature on these pretty grounds if they wish to do so. Thanks for your comment.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on October 15, 2012:

Wow!! this is an amazing hub. Rowan oak is a beautiful place!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 04, 2012:

Hi Attikos,

William Faulkner certainly was an interesting fellow who had his own personal demons. Your comment is interesting. I can understand why he might have wished to slip out the back door and into the trees depending up what he was working on or how he was feeling at the time of a visitor coming to his door. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 04, 2012:

Hi Gail,

The University of Mississippi campus is gorgeous and having these William Faulkner grounds and Rowan Oak added to it makes it even more interesting and a great place for the students to walk and enjoy natural surroundings. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 04, 2012:

Hi Randy,

It truly was a special feeling being able to visit Faulkner's beloved Rowan Oak home in Oxford. Hope you get to see it for yourself someday! Enjoyed your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 04, 2012:

Hi Mary,

I think that those things that appeared as "X's" on the cooks house at the Faulkner estate were pieces of wood. Have no idea why they were placed there. It was not added to the photo as it might appear. The grounds in Oxford, Mississippi are beautiful as is most of that area in general. Thanks for your comment, votes + the share.

Attikos from East Cackalacky on September 03, 2012:

Faulkner certainly valued his privacy. Often, when a visitor would come to the front door, he would slip out the back and disappear into the trees.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 03, 2012:

I love big old southern plantation style homes and grounds and this one looks breathtaking.

I enjoyed reading the history of the house and also the Faulkner family and also found the story about how the grounds and home became part of the University of Mississippi very interesting.

Voted this hub up across the board except for funny.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on September 03, 2012:

How could I not love an article about Faulkner's environs, Peggy. I'll bet you could almost sense him in the study where he spent so much time imagining his characters. I'd enjoy a visit there myself.

Thanks for such a well detailed description Of Rowan Oak.

Randy :)

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 03, 2012:

I enjoyed reading about one of my favorite authors, William Faulkner. I have never been to Miss., but if I ever do make it there, I will try and visit his home in Oxford. The house and grounds are very beautiful. I wonder what the X's mean on the cook's house above the windows??

I voted this Hub UP, etc. and will share with followers and social sites, too.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 10, 2011:

Hi lori,

Not sure what this has to do with Rowan Oak and William Faulkner, but thanks for your comment. You must be a stamp collector?

lori on June 10, 2011:

hi my name is lori and i have one of williams stamps the gold coin stamp the 22. and the green stamp 22.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 18, 2010:

Hello joe w bennett,

Thanks for the additional information about Ole Miss and its new mascot which is tied to "its most famous citizen" William Faulkner. I would imagine that the town really rocks when the football games are held in Oxford! Thanks for this informative comment.

joe w bennett from Clinton, MS, US of A on October 18, 2010:

"The Bear" is another famous (and probably his best) short story by Faulkner...Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) recently adopted the Rebel Black Bear as its new mascot, partly as a nod to its most famous citizen. RBB received 62% of the vote from students and alumni, triumphing over other finalists the Rebel Land Shark and Hotty Toddy. I have relatives in Oxford and have spent much time there--should you ever have the opportunity to visit again, try to come when the Rebels are at home and experience The Grove on game day--nothing quite like it in college football...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 13, 2010:

Hi Micky Dee,

Very happy to hear that you enjoyed this hub about William Faulkner and especially those quotes. I think that most people do not get out of this life without "a little trouble...frustration to sharpen the spirit..."...some of us just seem to be tested more than others! God bless you too Micky!

Micky Dee on October 13, 2010:

I loved it all. I loved your videos- "your trip thru Faulkner-world.the Sound and the Fury", "Life and Death of William Faulkner". I loved the quotes- People need a little trouble...frustration to sharpen the spirit on, toughen it.

And - I had that epiphany! I have to go through all your hubs! God bless Peggy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 04, 2010:

Hello agusfanani,

Thanks for reading this hub about William Faulkner and the location of his beautiful home, Rowan Oak, in Oxford, Mississippi. It was a pleasure to write and share with you and others. Thanks for the comment.

agusfanani from Indonesia on October 04, 2010:

The story describing your trip and the pictures accompanying it have made this hub very enjoyable to read.

Thumbs up , I always like your wonderful stories and pictures.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 30, 2010:

Hello GodsAngel1,

Thanks for reading and commenting so favorably on this Rowan Oak hub. Am sure that Author William Faulkner loved living here as it is to this day so beautiful and spacious.

GodsAngel1 on September 30, 2010:

What a beautiful home and grounds! This piece is stuffed full of information. Wow! The photos were great, and the videos were nice extras that were very educational. Great job, Peggy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 29, 2010:

Hi DjBryle,

Thanks for the comment on Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner and glad that you liked the images.

DjBryle from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =) on September 28, 2010:

Great images and amusing info! Thanks for sharing! =)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 27, 2010:

Hi Prasetio,

You are always so generous and kind with your remarks. Glad that I could introduce you to William Faulkner's home called Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi. You can see from all of the tall trees that this is a beautifully wooded area. Faulkner certainly had a quiet place in which to do his writing.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 27, 2010:

That's why I always love to read all your hub. You describe everything in good manner. You are one of my favorite hubber who always provide us many beautiful places which I really never knew before. Include this place, beautiful. I always impress with all the pictures you gave to us. Good work, my friend. Vote Up again...

Prasetio

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 27, 2010:

Hello Om Paramapoonya,

You'd really enjoy visiting Rowan Oak since William Faulkner is one of your favorite authors. The home and surrounding area is very beautiful. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 27, 2010:

Hi Cheryl,

I read some of William Faulkner's works about the same time. English-Literature teachers must have liked his works for teaching purposes. Glad that you found this hub informative. Thanks for the comment.

Om Paramapoonya on September 26, 2010:

Faulkner is one of my favorite writers. I'd love to visit this place some day. Thanks for sharing this. All your photos are very nice. :)

Cheryl on September 26, 2010:

William Faulkner was indeed a giant writer and poet. I remember reading some of his short stories in high school. Your photos of the property are really beautiful. The videos are very enlightning and absolutely informative. Another great hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 25, 2010:

Hi sarovai,

Supposedly the rowan oak was a mythical tree which referred to peace and security. William Faulkner must have felt that way about his home since he named his residence that particular name. Thanks for reading and leaving your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 25, 2010:

Hi Martha Castillo,

So happy that you enjoyed these pictures of Rowan Oak...the home of William Faulkner. The grounds were absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the comment.

sarovai on September 25, 2010:

I came to know about the mythical belief about rowan oak tree. I don't know whether this belief is there still. Anyway William Faulkner's nature loving is attracts me too. Thank u for sharing.

Martha Castillo from San Diego CA on September 25, 2010:

These are just beautiful picures to wake up to. Nature is so beautiful and so different everywhere we go. Only though pictures like these can we visit even more places in our minds. Thank you so much.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 25, 2010:

Hi Hello, hello,

I could say the same about many authors although I like to read...so understandable. Yes, William Faulkner's home in Oxford, Mississippi is truly beautiful amidst its surroundings. Thanks for your comment.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on September 25, 2010:

Sorry, but I never heard of Faulkner but will catch up on that. Thank you for showing this beautiful home. What an experience it must have been

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 24, 2010:

Hi Pamela,

I also had read some of Faulkner but a long time ago. I've read more John Grisham in later years than Faulkner. There must be something about Oxford, Mississippi that lures authors into living there. Perhaps the beauty and serenity...! Of course it is also a University town. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 24, 2010:

Hi Simone,

Glad you liked this hub. When I found the videos about William Faulkner, I was delighted and also think that they add a lot to this hub. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 24, 2010:

Hello dahoglund,

William Faulkner was a well recognized author but apparently had his demon (alcohol) which took a toll on him and his family. Probably also influenced his choice of writing. He certainly had a beautiful home in Oxford, Mississippi. Thanks for the visit and comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 24, 2010:

Hello images99,

Glad that you liked these photos of Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner in Oxford, Mississippi. That entire town is gorgeous...so hard not to get good photos. Thanks for the comment.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 24, 2010:

Peggy, I have read Faulkner but quite a while back. This is a nice over view of life withe the pictures. I liked the video also.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on September 24, 2010:

Great photos, and the video additions are great too. Very cool!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on September 24, 2010:

It's been a long time since I've read Faulkner.There is something about

southern writers that escapes me which has to do with

southern culture in general.

An interesting tour.

images99 on September 24, 2010:

I love your photographs they are artistic creations.