The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Faulkner (L.E.) Papers
Collection Number: M22
Volume: 28 cu. ft.
Louis Edward (L.E.) Faulkner was a prominent business and civic leader of Hattiesburg, Mississippi for more than four decades. Mr. Faulkner was born on November 2, 1883 in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, the only son of Edward and Mary (Cook) Faulkner. His father, a farmer, was a native of Kansas, and his mother was born in Pennsylvania. Faulkner's only sibling was a sister, Ethel Julia Faulkner. After the death of his father in about 1889, his mother married G.H. Doane, and the family moved to Coudersport, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Faulkner was educated in the Coudersport public schools, and graduated from State Normal School in Mansfield in 1902. After teaching school in Mina, Pennsylvania for one year, he began a career in the railroad business that would span more than half a century. His first job was with the engineering department of the Wabash Railroad in Fairmont, West Virginia, in 1903. The following year, he went to work for the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad, and in December 1905, he began work with the Mississippi Central Railroad at Brookhaven, where as a level man, he assisted with construction of the Brookhaven to Natchez segment of the railroad. In the ensuing years, he was promoted to resident engineer, division engineer, and chief engineer.
On October 7, 1907, Mr. Faulkner married Flora Mitchell Metcalf of Centerville, New York. One child, Mary Elizabeth, was born of the union.
The Faulkners moved to Hattiesburg in 1912, where Mr. Faulkner continued his association with the Mississippi Central Railroad. In 1919, he left the railroad business to become manager and half owner of the New Inland Gravel Company located in Hattiesburg. Then in 1920, he returned to the Mississippi Central Railroad as general manager, and in 1925, he was elected vice president and general manager. In 1950, he was elected president, and at the time of his death in 1961, he was chairman of the board of directors.
In addition to railroading, Mr. Faulkner was involved in various other enterprises. He was president of Faulkner Concrete Pipe Company, which was located on River Avenue (now East Hardy Street). The company manufactured concrete culvert pipe, sewer pipe, and drain pipe, as well as building and roofing tile, and eventually had branches in Gulfport, Meridian, Jackson, and Mobile. Faulkner also served as president of the Carter Building, Inc., treasurer and director of the J.J. Newman Lumber Company, and on several boards of directors, including First National Bank, the Forrest Hotel Corporation, and the United States Lumber Company.
The depth of Mr. Faulkner's commitment to his community is evidenced by his involvement in church and civic organizations. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church, where he served as deacon, elder, and Sunday School Superintendent. He was a member and past president of the Hattiesburg Rotary Club, Hattiesburg hamber of Commerce, and the Hattiesburg Country Club. He served on the Board of Control of the Hattiesburg Boys Brotherhood (a club for underprivileged boys) and the executive committee of the Young Men's Christian Association. In addition, he served a term as treasurer of the Boy Scouts, and was an honorary member of the Hattiesburg Kiwanis Club.
In 1932, Faulkner was chairman of Hattiesburg's Central Committee on Unemployment Relief, and under his direction, unemployed men of the city constructed a 600 ft. x 250 ft. athletic field on the campus of State Teachers College (now the University of Southern Mississippi). At a formal dedication ceremony on October 29 of that year, the facility was named "Faulkner Field." In 1954, he was a major contributor toward construction of a student union building (now McLemore Hall) at Mississippi Southern College (now USM), and a plaque in the lobby bears the names of the entire Faulkner Family.
The Great Depression of the 1930s and the advent of World War II spawned unprecedented governmental involvement in many aspects of American life. During the 1940s, Faulkner became alarmed at perceived socialistic trends in President Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" programs, and was deeply concerned that these trends may continue after the war. He was particularly concerned about the future of free enterprise, and initiated a national mail campaign aimed at educating the general public regarding the pitfalls of a bureaucratic government.
Mr. Faulkner was similarly concerned about centralization of authority in the World and Federal Councils of Churches, which he believed were operating under the influence of communists and socialists. He advocated withdrawal of the Southern Presbyterian Church from both organizations, and was, at the same time, adamantly opposed to the planned merger of the Northern and Southern Presbyterian Churches. His conviction was so strong that he launched a second massive mail campaign in an attempt to thwart the proposed merger and to enlighten Southern Presbyterians regarding the activities and objectives of the World and Federal Councils of Churches.
Mr. Faulkner frequently spoke before civic clubs in Mississippi and was in considerable demand as a speaker outside the state. Many of his speeches were reproduced in such publications as The Railroad Journal and Public Service Magazine. He also wrote numerous articles for the Hattiesburg American and the Southern Presbyterian Journal. In 1940, he wrote a short play entitled "Young Citizens to the Rescue", which was presented in Bennett Auditorium at Mississippi Southern College.
Louis Edward Faulkner died on January 16, 1961, succumbing to a chronic heart condition. He is entombed at Roseland Park Mausoleum in Hattiesburg. Mr. Faulkner is survived by his grandson, Louis Edgar Mapp, and a great grandson, Lou Mapp, who at this writing, resides in Hattiesburg.
This collection is comprised of 28 cubic feet of files maintained by Louis Edward Faulkner between approximately 1925 and 1960. A few items are dated as early as 1902 and as late as 1963. These files document many of Mr. Faulkner's business, civic, political, and religious activities during that period, and provide glimpses of his personal life as well. Materials in the files consist primarily of correspondence, but also include numerous speeches, publications, and newsclippings, plus a few business documents. File numbers and titles assigned by Mr. Faulkner have been retained, but some rearranging has been done in order to group similar materials together. In a few instances, parts of files appear to be missing. An example is File 105, for which only Part 34 is available. The significance of Mr. Faulkner's file-numbering system is unclear, but a similar system was used by the Mississippi Central Railroad, and there may be a connection between the two. Loose items found in the collection have been arranged according to topic.
The collection has been divided into three major series:
Each series contains several subseries, and files have been arranged chronologically within the series by number, when possible.
This collection is rich in the history and culture of Hattiesburg between the 1920s and 1950s, and also provides insight into events of national import during that period. In addition, many of the materials in the collection lend substance to the anxieties that permeated American life during and after World War II. The collection is particularly insightful concerning fears generated by a mushrooming federal bureaucracy, the spread of communism, and the demand for racial equality. Of equal interest is the tug-of-war between the Southern Presbyterian Church and the national and international religious organizations to which it was joined.