Acting Governor Albert C. Horton, ancestor to Shelby Foote and Horton Foote, whose portrait is at the Texas Capitol ©Author Adventures

Delta State University

Delta State University‘s Roberts-LaForge Library in West Cleveland has “the McCormick collection with over 300 first edition and signed copies of some of the area’s most award-winning and notorious authors.”

The McCormick collection began with Mary Dayle and Hugh McCormick, retired owners and operators of The Book Inn, which is now shut down. Located in Greenville, a hub of prize-winning writers such as close friends Walker Percy and Shelby Foote, The Book Inn was one of the most popular independent bookstores in the Southeast. The owners donated their impressive holdings to Delta State University to provide a permanent home for them that is accessible to the public.

Delta State University is a small public university with an enrollment of approximately 3,800 students.

John Grisham

Bestselling author John Grisham briefly attended Delta State.

According to “After watching Grisham during fall tryouts in 1974, Delta State University’s legendary baseball coach, Dave ‘Boo’ Ferriss advised Grisham ‘to stick to the books.’ He did, and 21 successful novels later, Grisham is one of the best-selling authors in American history. Grisham and ‘Boo’ have remained close through the years, exchanging many letters and phone calls. Upon the release of every new book, Grisham never fails to send ‘Boo’ a personalized copy with the inscription, ‘Thanks for putting me on the right career path, Coach.’”

Read more about the author here:

Connection to “The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns”

One of the most watched television series in history was The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns (PBS), featuring historian and author Shelby Foote, of Greenville, throughout. Millions of viewers watched when the series aired.

The Footes

If while traveling the Texas Author Adventures Trail, you wonder if a connection exists between Mississippi author Shelby Foote and Texan playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote — yes, the two were cousins. They did not grow up together, but their interest in the Civil War was a common thread between them. As an author, Shelby Foote was best known for his The Civil War: A Narrative trilogy. Horton Foote was involved in the PBS Civil War series as the voice of Jefferson Davis.

The Horton Foote Award for Special Achievement in Screenwriting  was named in the playwright’s honor and is conferred through the annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration in Mississippi. Details are here:

This is the final stop on our Mississippi Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart