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Kaitlyn Smith, a doctoral student at the University of South Carolina, has been named the 2019 Eudora Welty Fellow. Smith will use archival holdings at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to examine how Welty used technology to understand the South.

“My preliminary research suggests that Welty cannily uses technology in the form of cameras, automobiles, electric light, the radio, and television to reveal gaps in the social space of the South, especially in terms of race, gender, and ability,” said Smith. “I believe that reading Welty as a technological writer opens up many new avenues for inquiry into her work.”

Established by MDAH and the Eudora Welty Foundation, the fellowship seeks to encourage and support research use of the Eudora Welty Collection by graduate students.

“We're grateful to the Foundation for their continuing support and excited that another highly qualified fellow will make extensive use of the Welty Collection in July,” said David Pilcher, director of the MDAH Archives and Record Services Division.

Smith graduated with an MA in English from the University of Georgia. She is at work on her PhD in English at the University of South Carolina. Smith will use the $2,000 fellowship to cover travel, housing, and other expenses incurred while doing primary research at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building.

The Eudora Welty Collection is the world’s finest collection of materials related to Welty and one of the most varied literary collections in the United States. The collection includes manuscripts, letters, photographs, drawings, essays, and film and video footage that spans Welty’s entire life.

Beginning in 1957, and over the course of more than forty years, Welty donated materials to the department, primarily literary manuscripts and photographs. At her death her remaining papers were bequeathed to MDAH and included unpublished manuscripts and 14,000 items of correspondence with family, friends, scholars, young writers, and noted writers.

The collection may be accessed at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson. The preparation and digitization of material in the Eudora Welty Collection for a two-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant will necessitate the closure of selected series; please confirm availability in advance. For more information contact Forrest Galey by email at fgaley@mdah.ms.gov or by phone at 601-576-6850.

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