US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Born Sept. 25: William Faulkner

September 25, 2015 03:30 AM

  • Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, commemorated on a 22¢ stamp issued in 1987.
  • Who is the mystery birthday stamp subject for Sept. 25?

American author William Faulkner was born Sept. 25, 1897, in New Albany, Miss., and grew up in nearby Oxford.

At age 20 he enlisted in the Royal Air Force in Canada (after he was rejected by the United States Air Force), but he was still in training when World War I ended, and returned to the United States following his discharge.

He enrolled at the University of Mississippi but left after three semesters. Following that, he served briefly as the university’s postmaster before losing the job for “inattention to duty.” Roark Bradford, however, wrote in a 1948 profile that Faulkner resigned his position with a letter stating that he declined to be “at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.”

During that period, Faulkner began to write poems and short stories that were published in The Mississippian. A poetry collection, The Marble Faun, was published in 1924, and his first novel, Soldiers’ Pay, was published two years later.

One of Faulkner’s most admired novels, The Sound and the Fury, was published in 1929, followed by As I Lay Dying (1930) and Light in August (1932).

Faulkner would go on to write screenplays for films and complete many other novels. He won the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature, which was given in 1950, and two Pulitzer Prize awards for the novels A Fable (1954) and The Reivers (1962).

Faulkner suffered a heart attack and died in 1962.

A 22¢ Literary Arts commemorative stamp honoring Faulkner was issued in Oxford, Miss., on Aug. 3, 1987 (Scott 2350), several weeks prior to what would have been the author’s 90th birthday.