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Collection Title: Stevens (Rose Budd) Papers

Collection Number: M199

Dates: ca. 1908 - 1996

Volume: 4.5 cubic feet

Provenance: Donated by Mamie Willoughby (Rose Budd Stevens) in February 1983, with additions by Ben Willoughby in 1999 and 2002. One item was added by Dr. Charles Bolton in 2001.

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:

Rose Budd Stevens was the pen name of newspaper columnist and author, Mamie Willoughby, whose columns, "Along the R.F.D", "Ramblin' With Rose Budd", and "The Farmer Takes a Wife", appeared regularly in various publications from 1947 to 1994.

Mamie Davis Van Norman was born November 3, 1915, to Pearl and Hiram (Bud) Van Norman, in Amite County, Mississippi. She attended the Amite County public schools and graduated from Liberty Agricultural High School in 1933. She graduated from Southwest Junior College at Summit, Mississippi in 1935, and subsequently worked in the county agent's office of Amite County. She left Mississippi briefly, to serve as a payroll clerk for the Works Progress Administration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but soon returned to her roots in Amite County. In 1938 she married Bennett Willoughby, and they became the parents of two sons, Will and Ben, and a daughter, Celeste.

Mamie began her writing career in 1947 while bedridden for several months prior to the birth of her third child, Celeste. Her writings were based on her experiences growing up on Shady Rest Farm, near Liberty, Mississippi, blended with her experiences as a wife and mother, and her articles were usually accompanied by at least one recipe. Her first article was published anonymously in the Wilk-Amite Record of Gloster, Mississippi, and the positive response of readers led to a weekly column. Soon thereafter, she adopted the pen name, Rose Budd Stevens, a composite of the name of her husband's favorite aunt (Rose), her father's nickname (Bud), and the surname of her college roommate (Stevens).

During the course of her career, her column, "Along the R.F.D." appeared regularly in such newspapers as the McComb (MS) Enterprise-Journal, the Carthage (MS) Carthaginian, and the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger. "Ramblin' With Rose Budd" was a regular feature of the trade journal, Mississippi EPA News, and "The Farmer Takes a Wife" ran in MFC News. Her writing ability resulted in awards from the National Federation of Press Women, the Mississippi Press Women's Association, and Progressive Farmer magazine.

Mrs. Willoughby was the author of three books, written under her pseudonym, Rose Budd Stevens: Along the R.F.D. (1987 - a compilation of her newspaper columns); From Rose Budd's Kitchen (1988 - a collection of recipes gleaned from her articles); and Sweetly Be! (1990 - a selection of her articles, named for the phrase she used at the close of her writings).

Ill health forced Mrs. Willoughby to cease writing her columns in 1994, and on January 9, 1996, she died from complications of Alzheimer's disease.


Contents of the Collection
Stevens, Rose Budd. An Oral History With Rose Budd Stevens (Mrs. Bennett Willoughby). Vol. 247, Hattiesburg: University of Southern Mississippi,

Scope and Content:

The heart of the Rose Budd Stevens Papers is copies of her newspaper articles which she began writing in 1947 and continued to write until 1994. The articles colorfully depict everyday life in rural Mississippi and provide a rich source of information about southern culture and heritage, language, expressions, anecdotes, and the role of women in southern society. Recurring topics in the articles are arts and crafts, cooking, family life, farm life, canning, home remedies, poetry and religion. As a preservation measure, the yellowed and brittle original articles were photocopied on acid-free paper.

Other materials in the collection are correspondence, greeting cards, biographical materials, photographs and various other items. Correspondence in the collection, dating from 1946 to 1996, vividly illustrates the popularity of the Rose Budd Stevens columns and their author.


Series I: Articles
Series II: Correspondence
Series III: Greeting Cards
Series IV: Subject Files

Other Finding Aids:

Box and Folder List

Photograph Log

Accession Number: AM03-10

Provenance: Mr. Ben Willoughby

Volume: 1 folder

Dates: ca. 1951 - 1993

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

Form of Material:

Newspaper clippings, correspondence, recipes, and a 1985 calendar on which Rose Budd made numerous notations.

Accession Number: AM04-48

Dates: ca. 1935 - 1987

Volume: 10 items

Provenance: Ben Willoughby

Given By: Copied from original items loaned to the USM Archives by Ben Willoughby

Form of Material:

Eight black and white prints made from originals on loan from Mr. Ben Willoughby, and photocopies of two newspaper articles regarding the 1987 publication of Along the RFD with Rose Budd Stevens. The newspaper articles have been added to M199 Box 4, Folder 8. The photographs include:

  1. Two 5 x 7 images of Mamie Willoughby (aka Rose Budd Stevens while a student at Southwest Junior College, ca. 1935)
  2. Two 5 x 7 images of Mamie Willoughby (ca. 1930s)
  3. Two images of Ben Willoughby, Bennett Willoughby, and Will Willoughby (ca. 1960s)
  4. Two 5 x 7 images of Shady Rest Farm, home of the Willoughby Family, near Liberty, Mississippi (ca. 1950s)

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