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Collection Title: Jack (Guy) Letter

Collection Number: M53

Dates: October 9, 1922

Volume: 1 item

Provenance: Donor and date of acquisition are unknown.

Restrictions: Available for research use by the serious student and scholar.

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:

Guy Jack was born to Abner McGee and Sarah Elizabeth McCalebb Jack on October 11, 1853 in Kemper County, Mississippi. After graduating from the University of Alabama and attending a commercial college in Atlanta, Georgia, he returned to Kemper County and established general stores in Kemper and Noxubee Counties. In 1876 he was elected Circuit Court Clerk of Kemper County, serving until 1880. He married Augusta Edwards on October 1, 1884.

In 1919, he wrote Iconoclast, in which he asserted that many people within Kemper County were corrupt and resorted to criminal activity to further their positions. One such accusation was that many citizens of Scooba, Mississippi, and surrounding towns were involved in life insurance fraud, whereby they conspired to take out life insurance policies on individuals who they would then proceed to murder in order to collect the life insurance money. Needless to say, this publication did not improve Jack’s popularity within Kemper County and he was subsequently sued for libel.

Guy Jack died in 1931.



Lloyd, James B., ed. Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1981, 268.

Jack, Guy. Iconoclast, third ed. New Orleans: Louisiana Printing Co., Ltd. 1919.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of a one-page letter written by Guy Jack and addressed to R. H. DeKay of Pontotoc, Mississippi, on October 9, 1922. In the letter, Jack discusses the popularity of his book, Iconoclast. He mentions that the price is $1.00 and that there are only 100 copies left of the third edition. He reveals that it was always his goal for Iconoclast to have “the largest circulation of any book ever written by a Mississippian.” He also discusses the possibility of a fourth edition, including chapters on “Mob violence, Shyster lawyers, Kemper County Mississippi Jew Bank Presidents, Murder & Arson, Robbery of Life and Fire insurance companies, [in addition to the] Dramatic trial and acquittal of Capt. Jack of charges of criminal-libel.” The letter includes a declaration that he has made and lost fortunes, but finds himself happier in poverty. Guy Jack ends the missive, wishing Mr. DeKay joy in his recent fatherhood, and that he may continue to have “six more.”

This handwritten letter is in remarkably good condition for its age. It has been flattened to remove creases, and has been placed in a mylar sleeve for its protection while being handled by researchers. Acid free copies of the letter have been made, as well as a transcription for easier reading of the letter.

Enthusiasts of Kemper County, Mississippi, and Mississippi history in general, will find this letter, as well as Iconoclast, to be a fascinating look at an early Mississippi writer.






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