Pamela J. Merryman, a doctoral student at Southern Methodist University, has been named the 2022 Eudora Welty Fellow. Merryman will use archival holdings at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to research how Eudora Welty constructed her identity in her writing.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to conduct research in the Eudora Welty archives and am grateful to those who make the Eudora Welty Research Fellowship possible,” said the 2022 Welty Fellowship recipient. “Through my research in the Welty archives, I hope to gain a deeper and broader knowledge of the personal inspiration and creative process that went into Welty’s writing of her only children’s book, The Shoe Bird. Ultimately, I seek to note how this entertaining tale of Arturo the Parrot and the bird community—who gather from all over the world to learn about the power and value of communication, love, memory, and freedom—provides insight into Welty’s other literary works that also explore these vital aspects of the human experience."
Established by MDAH and the Eudora Welty Foundation, the fellowship seeks to encourage and support research in the Eudora Welty Collection by graduate students.
“We’re grateful to the Foundation for their continued support of the fellowship,” said David Pilcher, director of the MDAH Archives and Record Services Division. “I am certain Ms. Merryman will learn a lot and make extensive use of the Welty Collection this summer.”
After receiving her BA in secondary education from Howard Payne University, Merryman completed her MA in liberal arts at Southern Methodist University where she is currently working toward her PhD. Merryman will use the $5,000 fellowship to cover travel, housing, and other expenses incurred while doing primary research at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson.
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 At her death her remaining papers were bequeathed to MDAH and included unpublished manuscripts and 14,000 items of correspondence with family, friends, scholars, young writers, and noted writers.