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Collection Title: Scott (Flo Hampton) Papers

Collection Number: M86

Dates: ca. 1960's

Volume: .25 cu. feet

Provenance: Donated by Flo Hampton Scott.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

The Mississippi author, Flo Hampton Scott, described as "an avid collector of Dixiana," was born on August 17, 1905. Her parents, William Judson and Mary Cornelia Miller Hampton, owned a dry goods store in Crystal Springs, Mississippi thoughout Scott's childhood and it was there that she began to gather material for her later writing career. Scott remained in Crystal Springs until graduating from high school, then moving to Columbus, Mississippi to attend the Mississippi State College for Women. Scott received a bachelor of the arts degree from the college and also later studied at the University of Chicago, George Peabody College for Teachers, and the University of Colorado.

Although a published writer today, Scott's professional career began in teaching. She held a teaching position at Booneville High School (Booneville, Mississippi) and was also the head of the English Department at Central High School in Jackson. Her first published writings were works of poetry, appearing in magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post and Versecraft . Scott subsequently published two books: That Passing Laughter: Stories of the Southland (Birmingham: Southern University Press, 1966) and Ghosts with Southern Accents and Evidence of Extra Sensory Perception (Birmingham: Southern University Press, 1969). Both are collections of stories and anecdotes seeking to portray the flavor of the South.

Scott was married to Charles Christopher Scott, a prominent business executive and civic leader in Jackson, Mississippi. He died, however, in 1962, and Scott remarried in 1977. She and her second husband, Ben Ford Holt, continue to be residents of Jackson today.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of over ninety typescripts of stories and anecdotes recorded by Flo Hampton Scott for her 1966 book, That Passing Laughter . This book is a compilation of folk tales pertaining to southern blacks. Some of the stories are by blacks themselves and are written in the dialect in which they were told. The tales attempt to give the reader a sense of traditional southern life and the relationship between the black and white people of the region. One story, entitled "Real Rich," tells of two black employees who fight over which of their white bosses is the richest. Another anecdote, entitled "Thanks, Thado," describes a black shoe-shiner who informs a friendly white dentist that "the Lord sure ruined a good nigger when he made you white."

The stories are preceded by Scott's preface and foreward, and a rough listing of some of the available material. Eighty of the stories of the collection appear on the list and follow in alphabetical order. The remaining tales, those not found on the list, are the last of the collection. The typescripts are rough in form and contain handwritten corrections and comments.

Most of the stories are signed with two initials, however, there is no listing of contributors to be found. While Scott writes in the preface that she feels this book may be useful to students of history and sociology, the stories may be too romantic, nostalgic, and oversimplifying of black/white relationships to be of use.

Books:

Copies of books by Mrs. Flo Hampton Scott are available in the Cook, McCain, and Cox Libraries:

That Passing Laughter; Stories of the Southland (Birmingham, Ala.: Southern University Press, 1966), call number PN6231.N5 T5 (Cook, McCain, Cox).

Ghosts with Southern Accents and Evidence of Extra Sensory Perception (Birmingham, Ala.: Southern University Press, 1969), call number GR580 .S3 (McCain).


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Revised: November 9, 2004