The collection of seven films of Eudora Welty reading her fiction and commenting about her work was donated to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 2006. The 16mm film was shot in Jackson in 1974-5 for an episode of the Public Broadcasting Service series The Writer in America and contains more than five hours of raw footage by director/producer Richard O. Moore of Mill Valley, California. The film was stored at an NEA facility in Washington, D.C., until it was rediscovered in 2006. Dana Gioia, chairman of the NEA, presented the film to MDAH, calling the find "one of the greatest literary discoveries of the last decade." The footage shows Welty reading several of her stories, as well as Welty in her house, in her garden, and driving through Jackson.
Works included in the gift are "A Worn Path," "Why I Live at the P.O.," "Keela, the Outcast Maiden," "Petrified Man," "Powerhouse," "The Wanderers," and Losing Battles excerpts. Some of the footage was used to produce the twenty-nine minute documentary The Writer in America - Eudora Welty, aired by WNET, the public broadcasting station in New York, and also included in the donation to MDAH.
The NEA provided $10,000 to conserve and digitize the film. Access copies of all videos except the documentary, for which MDAH did not receive transfer of copyright, are available using the links below. The Writer in America - Eudora Welty may be viewed in the Department's media reading room with other videos in the Private Films Collection.