THE JAMES JONES LITERARY SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
Vol. 10, Nos. 1 & 2, Fall 2000/Winter 2001
Editorial Advisory Board
The James Jones Society newsletter is published quarterly
to keep members and interested parties apprised of activities,
projects and upcoming events of the Society; to promote public
interest and academic research in the works of James Jones;
and to celebrate his memory and legacy.
Submissions of essays, features, anecdotes, photographs,
etc., that pertain to author James Jones may be sent to the
co-editors for publication consideration. Every attempt will
be made to return material, if requested upon submission.
Material may be edited for length, clarity and accuracy.
Send submissions to 2609 N. High Cross Rd., Urbana, IL 61802
or email@example.com .
Writers guidelines available upon request and online.
The James Jones Literary Society
Online information about the James Jones First Novel Fellowship
New Society President
Offers Thanks To Volunteers
Serving as your president of the James Jones Literary Society
the coming year gives me the pleasure and privilege to welcome new
members and to recognize the enormous contributions of others who have
office or the board.
Juanita Martin, our first treasuer, and Helen Howe, our first
secretary, really authored this Society by brainstoming the first James
Jones syposium in l99l. Out of that the James Jones Literary Society
the James Jones First Novel Fellowship Award were born. Juanita's and
Helen's continued energy and ideas fueled subsequent symposia.
Although Helen has left both the office and the board, she
continues to be a sounding board for all of us, and we bestow Helen
the title of Honorary Board Member.
Juanita left the office and her job as liaison at Lincoln
College difficult to fill but still offers her energy as a board
Margot Nightingale became the Society's second secretary and gave us
wisdom, along with diplomacy and secretarial duties. Margot left the
but, fortunately for us, not the board.
It is virtually impossible to give enough thanks to Ray
Vanessa Faurie, the editors of our newsletter. They have given us this
to each other for several years. They have asked to be free of this
responsibility and give more time to their family and writing and jobs.
do appreciate all the thoughtful hours of editing. And thanks now to
archivist, Tom Wood, for taking on the job as editor after this issue.
It was only because I know I can count on the back-up from
previous hard-working presidents-George Hendrick, Mike Lennon, Judy
Everson, Jerry Bayne and Ray Elliott-that I agreed to serve as
for one year. On behalf of the Society and myself, I most
thank them all.
I came to the first symposium reluctantly because of
November weather and had to be persuaded by Helen Howe's baking a
pudding for me. But immediately I was glad to find myself surrounded by
people who became the James Jones Literary Society. It is the pleasure
visiting with and working with our Society members that keeps me coming
back, even in November. Thanks to all of you for making it pleasurable.
Thanks, too, to our new board members. There is Dave
who has already worked as if he were a member of the board. And to
Jones who likewise worked as if on high-paying salary, of which there
none. And to new board members and longtime supporters, Cullom Davis
Robert Klaus, and Lincoln Trail College liaison Diane Reed.
I look forward to hearing from members and board members with
thoughts and suggestions.
-- Don Sackrider, President, Sackrider519@cs.com
2000 SYMPOSIUM SPEAKER
Editor's Note: The 1999 Speakers Series with Norman Mailer,
and Peter Matthiessen will continue with the next issue.
Professsor Emertius of History, Univ. of Michigan; Author
of The World
Within War: America's Combat Experience in World War II
Your organization's annual meeting last summer on Long Island
what an occasion, to gather to listen to the friends of James Jones:
Comden, Budd Schulberg, William Styron, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller,
Matthiessen - an extraordinary roster of speakers. They spoke of James
Jones directly, intimately. I cannot do that. I never met him. I have
even studied his books as a body, but glancingly, in the preparation of
books and lectures.
I was surprised when Carl Becker took the trouble to
references in my last book and then told me that I had cited James
more frequently than any other source. Many of you know more than I
James Jones. What I can do is to look at him from a distance, setting
writings against those of many other World War II veterans, charting
congruencies and trying to make sense of the discrepancies.
But first let me raise with you the matter of James Jones'
knowledge of combat. In trying to write of war, I ordinarily rely on
narratives of those soldiers in combat longest, those who have passed
beyond the initial excitements, beyond what J. Glenn Gray calls,
misleadingly, the enduring appeals of battle.
Here James Jones presents a bit of a mystery: How does he
much about combat? He was a company runner at Schofield Barracks on the
morning that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On Jan. 1, 1943, he
on Guadalcanal with F Company, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry
Division. For 10 days he prepares lists, helps with reports, runs
On the 11th day he moves to the line and on the 12th joins the assault.
begins at 6:30; at 10:30 he is wounded-a mortar fragment to the head.
Ten days later, he returns-to clerking at company
be sure, not all during this period remains routine: At one point, he
help to disinter the bodies of American dead; at another, more
he goes into the jungle to relieve himself and glances up to see a
soldier charging at him, bayonet extended. James Jones must kill him
knife. Several weeks later, the first sergeant catches sight of Jones'
chronically injured ankle and orders him out.
So what do we have? Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal-less than
of combat of any intensity. The accomplishment that follows is not
that of a Stephen Crane reading yellowed magazines and fueling the
imagination that produces The Red Badge of Courage, but it is
of very high order. How does James Jones expand such limited experience
the line into the perceptions of a veteran combat soldier?
Let me offer an example, that struggle in the jungle with the
Japanese soldier. Jones describes it, as you know, in The Thin Red
with Bead the protagonist: Nowhere is there a grizzlier or grittier
on close-quarters combat. In the actual event, Jones-utterly
the dead man's pockets and there finds a photograph of a young woman
new baby in her arms. He is shocked and sickened and in tears-and he
swears that he will, his words, "never kill anyone ever again."
But in the book, Bead makes no such vow. He is distraught,
quickly returns to the unit and there its members soon comfort and
him that what he has done is both justifiable and inevitable, meriting
pride rather than remorse.
I cannot know why at any point James Jones writes as he does,
let me pose the question as if I did. How did James Jones know that his
reaction-an enduring one: he never renounces or forgets his vow-was a
rarity? How did he know that rationalization, reassurance and renewed
commitment to the unavoidability of killing were the common pattern?
the solution rest in brief but acute observation? Or perhaps in an
imagination as powerful, as empathetic, as accurate as Stephen Crane's?
When I first prepared my notes for this talk, I didn't have
glimmer of an answer, but I have been thinking and arguing with my
in Ann Arbor, and I began to think that three elements were decisive:
turbulence of his childhood, which, however high its costs, does
him a finely-attuned emotional acuity; next, his realization in Hawaii
he is meant to be a writer-so that he arrives on Guadalcanal determined
watch and to listen, to absorb as much as possible; and finally, those
months in hospitals-on Guadalcanal and on Efate, in New Zealand and in
Memphis-listening to the stories of soldiers longer in combat than he,
listening and asking questions, weighing and remembering. The
these three factors is the best answer I am able to offer you.
Now, in what ways does James Jones' work reflect and
ways of most World War II combat soldiers? Let me mention just a few of
many categories in which his portraits are particularly valuable-in
how quickly combatants abandon notions of cause and effect and invest
instead in accident and chance and fate; in showing how soldiers suffer
loss of their efficacy as individuals and feel instead their
numbers; in showing how they seek to numb themselves-here is
leitmotiv in The Thin Red Line as Jones' soldiers labor to
permanent state of numbness; in showing how they quickly surrender the
civilian opposition of courage and cowardice as they discover both in
themselves and realize that both express themselves in unknowable and
uncontrollable fluctuations; and finally but especially, in showing how
why soldiers feel bitterness.
And Jones is equally perceptive in his observation of
among the enlisted men and between them and their officers. He is
sentiment. Comradeship is of limited utility. In Whistle, in
surgeons' orders and ignoring their threats, Prell tells the doctors,
don't give a shit, except for each other." But soon he thinks about
has said and decides, "We probably don't give a shit about each other
either." For Jones' soldiers, isolation and loneliness are the
they were, I believe, for most World War II veteran combat soldiers.
Officers in the Old Army are always, Jones tells us, "made SOBs who
you by the nuts," and he sees no change in the wartime army. One of the
many surprises in my own work was the intensity of the anger recruits
towards the officer corps and its exercise of privilege. Here again,
Jones catches that.
Now, where are the disparities between Jones' depictions and
of the body of World War II narratives? What I suggest is that we would
do well to rely on him for soldiers' reactions to women, for soldiers'
views of the homefront or for returning soldiers' postwar adjustment.
Women. Is there a sympathetically drawn female character
in the trilogy? Ada Jones was cruel and manipulative, domineering and
deceitful. At points, she beat and apparently chained her son and he
to hate his mother. I would guess-and I place it no higher than a
guess-that to escape his hurt, his disgust at volcanic family emotion
hidden, hypocritically, behind a facade of gentility, he escapes into
voracious reading and his imagination-successfully in all but sex.
Understandably, he longed for one who would love him as his mother had
not-and his long failure to find that one implicated all women. He
described the fundamental relationship between women and men in sexual
monetary terms: women seek to spend as much of men's money as possible
without surrendering their bodies; men seek to sleep with women while
spending as little as possible. It doesn't help, of course, that most
the women he meets in the Old Army are prostitutes.
Now I do not wish to make too much of this, but its
in his writing are striking. His views regarding women invade his views
combat. Almost alone among WWII writers, he portrays the sexual element
pervasive in warfare-volunteering as a sexual act; sexual arousal when
imagining one's own death; even the Midway torpedo-bomber pilots as
operating in a sexual ecstasy. And James Jones does not soon resolve
basic problem. Though in 1956 he finds in Gloria Mosolino a woman to
and to love him and in 1957 a marriage that endures until his death,
view of women doesn't much seem to alter.
Here is a passage from WWII, published 18 years after
"Women are the antithesis of war; they are soft, pliable, decent,
sensitive, understanding-and great to fuck." Notice how the last phrase
sinks in contempt all that goes before it. During the war most soldiers
invested in the Good Woman-Bad Woman division.
As Russell Baker puts it, "It was all right to wallow in lust
bad women, but good women were to be respected and loved purely, the
of girl you married and remained faithful to all your life-the kind of
my mother would approve of."
If the mother who is the arbiter of the Good Woman is also
model for the Good Woman, it is understandable that James Jones sees no
Good Women. He is angrier at women war workers on the line who, he is
daydream of romance and cut grenade fuses too short than he is at
who underestimate the need for infantry divisions or artillery shells
who order the unnecessary invasion of Pacific atolls.
The wartime United States. It is not that Jones, with his 3
years abroad, is away longer than other soldiers but that he leaves
earlier, in late '39, with many of the clouds of the Great Depression
overhead. So, in '43, he is shocked at the sweep of change, at what he
thinks the public's wartime values-"a new world that seemed to have
crazy with destruction and a lavish prosperity-and a total breakdown in
prewar moral standards. His alienation from the homefront exceeds that
most soldiers who, while themselves increasingly angry at 4-Fs,
and profiteers, remain tied to home in ways James Jones does not.
The soldiers' adjustment to civilian life. Jones depicts it
almost impossible, the result, I think, of his Old Army perspective.
Army represents something far different to regulars than to recruits
draftees. The company, Jones tells us in Whistle, is the only
have. Without it, they belong nowhere. To be cut loose of the Army,
is to be severed from their lives. Of the four principal characters in Whistle,
three kill themselves and the last goes mad. But
majority anchor their lives in their civilian existences-the war is not
life but an interruption in their lives-and, though they are by no
relieved of combat distress, their passage from the war is welcome, not
So these are some of the places where one should not assume
James Jones' writings reveal the common pattern. Draftees generally
differently than do Jones' career NCOs about women, about home, about
return to civilian lives.
Just a word about Jones and Vietnam, a brief word because I
there far less than I had hoped and expected. He has visa problems and
help turns to Gen. Frederick Weyand, American commander in Vietnam, but
then he allows that connection to set the schedule. He talks and eats
general officers, visits a Montagnard hospital and leper colony,
chief priest's funeral, watches a prisoner exchange-signs of a
He has opposed the Army's intervention in Vietnam, but he is
determined to say nothing critical of soldiers in Vietnam. American
units had deported. Still, it is strange that he failed to seek out
the support troops remaining in-country those men and company officers
had known combat and from whom he might have learned how that war
from his, how even more difficult were the conditions of its combat.
His subsequent stop in Hawaii is also one hedged by PR men
general officers; again, he makes no effort to speak with Vietnam
there. What happens is not what some charge, that James Jones has grown
conservative, a cheerleader forgetful of From Here To Eternity
brutality it portrayed. It is impossible to read Viet Journal
feeling the book's heart is not in its Vietnam chapters but in those
pages, in his return to Schofield Barracks. He is already ill. He is
four years from his death. He is not interested in learning about a new
type of war. He distances himself. His eyes have turned from both the
present and the near past; they look back 30 years.
Let me close, admiringly, with one other way in which James
writing departs from the body of narratives. He may be unique among
War II writers in anticipating the problem of selective memory, the
propensity of the soldier to heal his own distress by suppressing his
painful memories. Jones denounces selective memory: "cerebral
calls it; "recalling terror with affection." He resists its influence
himself: Whistle, 1977 is just as remorseless as The Thin
Red Line, 1962.
He fears its influence on veterans; in the final passage of The
Line, he anticipates that a soldier will write a book capturing the
experience of his squad exactly as its members had registered it during
fighting, but that later none of them will believe the book because
them will remember it that way.
Jones' clear eyes may have failed him in Vietnam because
elsewhere, but they do not desert him in his World War II writings. It
seems to me that he would greet today's Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks-Tom
Brokaw Greatest Generation flummery first with embarrassment and then
one of his famous rages. He did not intend to soften what he called
battle's "awful animal indecencies," and he pursued that vision of
ardently-with steadfastness and with the passionate integrity that
characterized his life.
Writing Teacher Wins 2000 James Jones
First Novel Fellowship
Steven Phillip Policoff's work-in-progress, "Beautiful
Else," was selected from among a record 566 entries as the winner of
James Jones First Novel Fellowship for the year 2000. For the first
the amount of the prize awarded was $5,000.
Policoff was honored Oct. 28 at the 10th Annual James Jones
Literary Society Symposium at the University of Illinois Library in
"[The award] made me believe in the book," Policoff said to
audience. "There are people who care about writing."
Policoff is a master teacher of writing in the General
Program at New York University and lives in Manhattan with his wife and
His children's book, "Cesar's Amazing Journey," (Viking) was
published in 1999. He is also the author of "The Dreamer's Companion"
(Chicago Review Press, 1997) and the co-author of "Real Toads in
Gardens: Suggestions and Starting Points for Young Creative Writers"
(Chicago Review Press, 1991). His articles and essays have appeared in
Parents, New Age Journal, Ladies' Home Journal and other magazines.
Judges for the 2000 James Jones First Novel Fellowship were
Michael Lennon, a Jones biographer and vice president for academic
at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Patricia Heaman, chair of the
English Department at Wilkes, which conducts the competition for the
Society; writer Kevin Heisler, and Kaylie Jones, author and daughter of
Entries for the 2001 James Jones First Novel Fellowship
being accepted. For rules and guidelines, contact the English
Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pa 18766, or visit the Web site at
The 1999 winner of the James Jones First Novel Fellowship,
received her award check from Kaylie Jones last fall in New York City.
Wareham attended the 2000 symposium in Urbana to be formally recognized
her accomplishment and to read a passage from her first novel, Since
Save The Dates For Future Symposia
Symposia dates for the next two years have been set and plans
underway for the programs at Robinson on Nov. 10, 2001, and at the
University of Paris on June 22, 2002.
The return to James Jones' Robinson, Ill., hometown for the
symposium at Lincoln Trail College corresponds with his 80th birthday,
60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 50th anniversary
the publication of From Here To Eternity.
Dick Grogg of the Southeastern Illinois Heritage Foundation
submitted a proposal to have an Elderhostel program with an expanded
Jones focus also tied into the regular symposium. Elderhostel Area
Kay Smith visited Robinson in December to learn more about the area and
Another feature to this year's symposium that will add to the
lore that will be enhanced with the publication of James Jones and
Handy Writers' Colony by George Hendrick, Helen Howe and Don
Sackrider is a
reading or production of The Last Retreat, a play based in a
by Jon Shirota, the last member of the Handy Writers' Colony and author
several plays and the novels, Lucky Come Hawaii and Pineapple
In addition to hosting the Paris symposium in 2002 and
plan it, the American University in Paris Vice President and Dean
Vincent has written that "we are sincerely interested in your proposal
in the interval since our last communication, we have investigated
resource issues and recruited a host committee of interested faculty
will be invaluable in providing assistance in planning the symposium."
Continuing, Vincent said, "Some complementary activities have
proposed, such as a walking tour of Paris sites frequented by Jones and
other American literary expatriates, and a wine and cheese reception at
Abbey Bookshop, where Kaylie Jones has done a reading. Other events are
limited only by time and, of course, budget."
The American Council for International Study will be offering
fare, hotel and some ground transportation at group rates for symposium
attendees from the Society.
-- Ray Elliott
2000 Symposium Provides Thoughtful Insights
The 10th annual James Jones Literary Society Symposium at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library in Urbana, Ill. last
October began with the recognition of two First Novel Fellowship
Kaylie Jones introduced the 1999 First Novel Fellowship Award
winner, Louise Wareham of New York City. Although the 1999 symposium
June 1999 in Long Island, N.Y., the honor was not presented to Wareham
until October 1999 when the winner was selected and the request made
she attend the 2000 symposium to be honored publicly and to read from
winning novel, Since You Ask.
"(The award) really helped me a lot," Wareham said at the
symposium before reading a brief passage of her work. "(Since I
got the award in October) I've been able to live with it for a while.
gave me the push I needed because I was getting a bit exhausted (with
writing). It's also given people a lot of respect for me."
Jones then introduced Stephen Policoff, also of New York, and
presented the Society's first $5,000 award for the James Jones First
Fellowship for 2000. Policoff teaches writing at New York University
has a 5-year-old child, who kept walking around their home, saying,
won a pri-i-ze; Daddy won a pri-i-ze!"
"(The award) made me believe in the book," Policoff said to
audience. "There are people who care about writing."
His novel is titled, Beautiful Somewhere Else.
The first panel of the morning was "James Jones and the
Connection," featuring JJLS archivist/historian Tom Wood of the
of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) and Barbara Jones, rare book and
collections librarian at the U of I in Urbana.
Wood talked about the Handy Writers' Colony papers archived
He worked for five years on the collection-some "42 linear feet of
archives," and the organization of the material was completed in 1989.
"It's remarkable in the depth of the documentation." he said.
can see the origins of From Here To Eternity, including
written on the back of Harry's [Handy] well inspection forms."
Jones oversees one of the top rare book and special
libraries and has a particular interest in modern American literature.
"When I did the Jones exhibit and worked on the From Here
Eternity manuscript, I got goosebumps," she said.
The exhibit was entitled, "Old Soldiers Never Die; They Write
Novels." In addition to photographs, one of the two original
manuscripts of Eternity (the other is at UIS), the Judy
copy of The
Pistol, letters, etc. make up the collection. It focuses on
issues, how one conducts research of this type and how scholars do
on James Jones.
The library places great importance on access. "People use
materials; it's not a museum," Jones said.
UI professor emeritus of English and the first president of
Society, George Hendrick, moderated the next session: "The Colony in
Marshall, Ill." He also read comments about the Colony and Lowney Handy
from longtime Society board member Helen Howe, who was scheduled to
but unable to attend the symposium.
Howe said of Handy: "She didn't appear to hate, but she did
with a vengeance."
Panelist and newly elected JJLS president Don Sackrider met
and James Jones in 1947 after Sackrider's mother insisted he meet
because he wanted to be a writer. The Colony started in 1950, and
was its second student.
"Jim was finishing Eternity, and then interest in the
exploded," he said.
Sackrider left the Colony in 1953. "But as you see, we could never
leave the Colony," he said.
Hendrick, Howe and Sackrider recently co-authored James
the Handy Writers' Colony, to be published by Southern Illinois
Press in April.
The other speaker on this panel was author and playwright Jon
Shirota of Hacienda Heights, Calif., who was "enthralled and captivated
by From Here To Eternity." He became the last student at the
Colony in 1963.
Prior to that, he had corresponded with Lowney, who had sent him some
He described the time when he had completed a manuscript he
was as good or better than Eternity, and Lowney instructed him
to throw it
away. Shirota just went along and ignored her advice, until she wrote
again that he would never become a writer until he threw that
away, which he finally did.
When she finally invited him to the Colony, he quit a
job to take this chance on himself. At the Colony, he said, "My job was
get up and write for three hours, then mow the lawn (several acres)."
When he published his first book, Lucky Come Hawaii,
he wanted to
dedicate it to Lowney Handy. She said he should dedicate it to his
So they determined that a flip of a coin would determine the
and that is how the book got dedicated to Lowney Handy.
"This lady had changed my life," Shirota said, who has never
forgotten the influence she had on him and the help she gave him.
He still has a picture of her on his wall today. "She's
looking down at me," he added.
The first session after a lunch break was an overview of
writings as a prelude to keynote speaker Gerald Linderman. (See his
J. Michael Lennon of Wilkes University began this session by
explaining the "evolution of a soldier" concept, quoting from WWII:
cannot understand how we can hate war and like it at the same time."
George Hendrick described a Jones letter to his brother,
about getting injured on Guadalcanal. Hendrick also read a poetic
description by Jones about being injured that appears in To Reach
Hendrick also cited a passage Burroughs Mitchell wrote to
Aug. 1, 1958, about writing The Thin Red Line.
UIS English professor Judy Everson said that in light of the
that WWII has resurfaced recently as a hot topic, Jones gives the
statistics of that war individual faces and stories.
"Jones is reviled by some and revered by others," she said.
But his contributions, she added, were numerous:
- He reflected influences of Stephen Crane but with some
regarding the individual soldier within the group.
- He paid tribute to Thomas Wolfe with disillusioned
- Jones' fiction accelerated the trend of war writing. He
language that was the true kind of language heard by such individuals.
- He used a lot of one-syllable, four-letter last names
in The Thin Red Line) to imply brief, concussive, interchangeable,
- And he focused on naturalism-the individual up against
doesn't understand and can't control.
Everson then shared a quote from Irwin Shaw about Jones: "He
be the voice of the inarticulate Army."
After Professor Linderman's keynote address focusing on James
Jones' work from the perspective of World War II and Vietnam, the
concluded with an educational and entertaining chronology of another
form that was greatly affected by World War II: music.
The Dixieland jazz band, Medicare 7, 8 or 9, is a perennial
favorite around the University of Illinois. Retired music professor and
World War II veteran Dan Perrino led a discussion about the types of
and songs that were popular during the war years and how they reflected
many emotions of the times.
Songs included "I'll Be Seeing You," "The Last Time I Saw
"White Cliffs of Dover," "We'll Meet Again" (a Jones favorite),
and "Sentimental Journey."
Some of the musicians told of their musical experiences
war. Jack May of Arizona was in a German POW camp and recalled how he
slowly and painstakingly making a reed for an old clarinet by whittling
down a hunk of wood with a bottle cap.
Other musicians of the band included Stan Rahn (clarinet and
vocals), John O'Connor (trumpet), Don Heitler (piano), Warren Felts
and string bass), John Bromley (drums) and Dena Vermette (vocalist).
-- Vanessa Faurie
Work Progresses On Jones' Papers At University Of Texas
Editor's Note: New Society board member and University of
Book and Special Collections librarian Barbara Jones reported about her
recent visit to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas,
owns a large collection of the papers of James Jones, and includes
about the response to the recent exhibit in the University of Illinois
Book Room of the author's work, papers and photographs on display
the Jones symposium in late October.
The news from Texas is good. Two people from the Manuscripts
Department came in specially to see me on Saturday morning. I was taken
into the stacks to see the boxes of James Jones materials. They were
sitting on shelves in acid-free boxes. The contents were neatly placed
Some of them aren't processed yet, but they are housed
The tax records appear to be in their original boxes, and the
told me they weren't as high a priority, which seemed logical to me.
are focusing on the literary manuscripts, photos and correspondence.
(If anyone knows of a scholar who is going to be studying the
publishing history of Jones' work any time soon, it might be good to
them know in Texas, so they can focus on the tax records.)
Then they showed me the processing. The cataloger is Bob
who said we can contact him any time for a progress report. His boss,
Kirkpatrick, was also there. He invited the JJLS to meet in Austin,
to celebrate the completion of the processing. But I told him that for
next two years, at least, we are all set. He assured me that the
would done much sooner than that!
Taylor's desk was completely filled with Jones papers,
clippings, etc. They had photocopied the newspaper clippings onto
paper, which is good. They showed me the preliminary listing of the
materials, which will be downloaded onto their Web site. They said I
have a rough draft, but that if I could wait a few weeks, the finished
product would be up on the Web.
I totally approved, from a librarian's point of view, in the
methodology they are using for their processing and that they are
the holdings on a database that will then go up on the Web. This is how
do things at (the University of) Illinois, and it's pretty standard
the world at this point.
Kirkpatrick reiterated that once the processing is done, he
be happy to fly a few of us down there to see the finished product. I
we should take him up on that. He wasn't specific about who it should
but I would think Kaylie, for sure, and maybe one or two officers of
I was impressed by their commitment, late though it may be. I
we can feel re-assured that the papers are being stored properly,
properly and will be accessible to a larger public in a matter of
will keep in touch with the folks at the Ransom Center.
Also, I must tell you that we are getting incredibly positive
responses on our exhibit. I think we should try to publish a catalog.
will cost a lot, though, but I just wanted to let you know I am
along those lines and will try to figure out where to get the money. It
could be a catalog not only of the exhibit, but could also contain a
checklist of Jones materials in other repositories, thus pulling
for scholars, one reference book for doing research on James Jones.
-- Barbara Jones
Letters To The Society
Marshall Native Remembers Jones, Colony
From Society Archivist Tom Wood: I recently exchanged some
with Lee Butcher, who grew up in Marshall and knew Jones and studied
writing with Lowney Handy. He had found information on the Handy Colony
Collection at the University of Illinois at Springfield, which includes
"skit" he wrote and some letters he wrote to Lowney.
Included in Butcher's e-mail messages of July 17-18, 2000,
interesting reminiscence of his association with Jones and Handy, which
consented to share with readers:
"I met Lowney in a roundabout way through Jim Jones. My
the chief of police in Marshall, and Jim had joined a manhunt, which
extended to the Handy Colony grounds, for an escaped convict. Later, he
told me he had joined to make certain that a black writer at the Colony
wasn't harassed. Jim loaned my father a jacket and I was delegated to
"Jim met me at the door and knew of me because I was a fairly
renowned trumpet player, although I was 12 years old. He must have been
to 35 at the time, but he treated me like an equal. When Lowney came to
house about an hour later, he told her, 'Hey, Lowney. I've got a new
for you. Talk to this kid.' He went upstairs and returned with an
autographed copy of From Here to Eternity, which I had never
"That was how I got started. I went to the Colony for about
years before I joined the Air Force and continued corresponding with
Lowney. She wanted me to go to Arizona with her after I was discharged,
I didn't feel I was mature enough to do anything serious. In
was right. The Handy Colony-and Lowney-had pretty much fallen apart
Jim left. Lowney and I lost touch, and a year or so later she died. She
an incredible woman and was very generous to me.
"I haven't been to the Midwest since 1969. At that time, I
impressed by how much Marshall had to offer-something I didn't
growing up. Of course, I appreciated the Handy Colony. Lowney and Jim
up for the deprivation in my family life.
"Lowney did so much for me, and if I can think of anything to
about her, I will surely do it."
-- Lee Butcher, Ormond Beach, Fla.
Jones Wrote Of Universal Truths About Military
James Jones seems to be the only U.S. author of military
tells the truth about military service. Something that happened in the
novel [From Here To Eternity] seems to be happening here in
Maybe military life is the same everywhere. I also read Catch-22 in my
undergraduate years. But I think James Jones tells more about the army
-- Wu Jun, Luoyan, China
Editor's Note: Wu Jun is working on a Chinese translation
of From Here To
Eternity, scheduled for release in October 2002.
Jones fan In Australia Glad To Find Web Site
What a marvellous Web site! I am still going through it, but
thought in particular the page regarding the Dedication at Schofield
Barracks to be particularly moving.
I first read From Here To Eternity about 25 years
ago, while at sea
in the (Australian) navy. It has remained my favorite book since. I
also read The Thin Red Line and Whistle, the former
also being very good. I
thought the most memorable part of Whistle was the end, but I
I have been to Hawaii many times and have spent a lot of time
at Pearl Harbor. There are many places I can recognize from the book. I
have also seen Schofield Barracks a couple of times, albeit from
the gate. I cannot go to Hawaii without thinking of the characters in From
Here To Eternity. To use the poetry of Rudyard Kipling was also
The greatest thing about the book, I believe, is that [Jones]
about ordinary characters ... and people who have the strength to stand
for their principles. I cannot help but think that Robert E. Lee
was crazy in going through what he did ... not boxing ... the stockade
the like, but you have to respect the guy.
The ending is very moving. I intend to read some more of his
... the detective book sounds good ... and at the same time I am
re-reading From Here To Eternity. I am still looking for a
second-hand copy of The
Thin Red Line to re-read. I shall also search libraries for an
autobiography. James Jones seems to fit in so well with the romantic
Anyway, a great Web site. I will keep up with the letters
was hoping there would be something like this. I may have to visit
Robinson, Ill., on a future trip to the USA. I expect the town must
statue of the man?
-- Michael Hanson, Sydney, Australia
Information Sought about Florida Photos
About 20 years ago, I inherited some photographs of the
James Jones, who, I believe, lived briefly with my great aunt, Lucy
McGee, in Fort Myers, Fla. At the time I acquired the pictures, they
signed and in excellent condition. Unfortunately, I very foolishly had
framed. The ink has faded, and all that can be made out of the
is the imprint from the pen.
A few of the photographs are obviously promotional stills,
have seen copies of them in biographies of Jones. (One is of Jones in a
bathing suit beneath a palm tree; the inscription reads, "Shades of the
I am curious about the photographs for several reasons. My
Lucy died when I was very young, and my mother-the source of most of my
information about Jones' relationship with my great aunt-died in 1980.
have difficulty remember many of the details of her stories. My guess
that Jones, possibly with members of the Handy Colony, may have
in or near Fort Myers during the winter. I am also curious about the
monetary and literary value of the photographs.
Despite my difficulty in finding any published account of
vacationing in Florida, I do believe my great aunt and Jones had a
friendship; one of the photographs is inscribed with the words, "To
Lucy: She knew I was coming, and she baked a cake."
Any information ... would be appreciated.
-- Martha Perkins, Abingdon, Va., firstname.lastname@example.org
More Voices Needed To Support A James Jones Commemorative
An effort was initiated in 1997 to have a James Jones
stamp issued to honor the novelist who is best remembered for his
that chronicle the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the price paid
America's combat soldiers to win the war against the Japanese in the
This year would seem to have been a natural for the Citizens'
Advisory Committee to issue a stamp honoring Jones' contributions to
American literature from World War II: 2001 is the 50th anniversary of
publication of From Here To Eternity, the 60th anniversary of
the attack on
Pearl Harbor and the 80th anniversary of Jones' birth.
But another year has come and gone, and James Jones was not
list of those Americans honored with a commemorative stamp. Individuals
be honored with stamps in 2001 are NAACP leader Roy Wilkins, artist
Kahlo, Lucille Ball, Leonard Bernstein and Enrico Fermi. With no
the list and the three milestones in Jones' life, it seems that he
have been a perfect choice this year. Apparently not.
So where does that leave the proposal for a James Jones
I again wrote Terrence McCaffrey, manager of the stamp
program, to find out. His Nov. 17, 2000, letter didn't sound too
"... As you are aware, the nomination of James Ramon Jones is
Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee and remains under consideration. As
previously indicated, there is no specific time frame for the issuance
stamp subjects. The committee is currently working on the stamp
for 2003 and beyond.
"No public announcement of individual new stamps is made
entire stamp program for that year has been approved and an
made by the postmaster general. This normally occurs by the fall
the year of issuance. ..." (See www.usps.com/images/stamps/2001/welcome2.htm
Novelist Norman Mailer, another chronicler of World War II (The
Naked And The Dead), and Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie sent
of support to postal authorities last fall. Mailer wrote, in part, "A
years ago I wrote that 'no one in our literature ever had a larger
for writing about American soldiers in barracks and in action' than
Jones. A stamp commemorating Jones and his novel would do honor to all
American writers. I support this proposal enthusiastically."
Rep. Abercrombie mentioned the milestones of the 80th
of Jones' birth and the 50th anniversary of the publication of From
Eternity and continued: "Three years ago I had the privilege to
remarks in Hawaii at the dedication of Eternity Hall, Quadrangle D, at
Schofield Barracks in honor of James Jones. In September of 1940, Pvt.
James Jones, not yet 19 years old, transferred to the 27th Infantry
Regiment at Schofield. From his bunk in Eternity Hall, Jones set the
upon which the story of From Here To Eternity unfolds. But it
is not events
of which we learn. Rather, we learn the meaning of integrity, honesty,
honor, and above all, what it takes to be human.
"I understand the proposal, originally submitted in June
remains under consideration by the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee.
can think of no greater tribute to an individual who has been called
premier World War II novelist' of his generation."
McCaffrey wrote me in an Oct. 22, 1999, letter that "Each
the Postal Service receives thousand of letters suggesting hundreds of
different topics for new stamps. Since 1957, the Citizens' Stamp
Committee has reviewed many worthy subjects and has recommended a
number based on national interest, historical perspective and other
I can think of no other individual whose body of work
posterity the contributions and tribulations of the American soldier
represents the national interest and historical perspective than James
Jones. That seems worthy of a commemorative stamp. But based on past
experience and those who are honored, only thousands of letters in
seem to make a difference.
Please write the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee and
your support for a commemorative stamp honoring Jones. Address your
to Terrence W. McCaffrey, Manager; Stamp Development; Stamp Services,
Public Affairs and Communications; U.S. Postal Service; 475 L'Enfant
SW; Washington, DC 20260-2435.
-- Ray Elliott
Norman Mailer On Jones And Coming To terms With Success
In a summer 1999 interview with Norman Mailer (New England
20), I asked him about the linkages in his writing between movies and
politics. He answered by saying that he "took it for granted" because
the success of The Naked and the Dead, "I was very much like a
actor who doesn't know where he is, and who he is."
He goes on to say that "it took me 20 years to come to terms
with who I was
and to recognize that my experience was the only experience that I was
going to have. There are other people like me that have had a similar
experience, who were also shot out of a cannon."
Lennon: "James Jones."
Mailer: "Yes, but Jones suffered much more before he wrote From
Eternity. By the time he'd arrived, he was much more ready to enjoy
success. I was a great pain in the ass to a great many people because
keep saying, 'Oh, woe is me. Now I will never have the experience of
people. I will never have anything to write about.' Jones didn't give a
damn. You know, he had killed the lion and now he wanted to eat it."
-- Mike Lennon
Minutes Of The James Jones Literary Society Annual Board
October 28, 2000
The James Jones Literary Society met on Oct. 28, 2000, in
of the University of Illinois Library. President Ray Elliott called the
meeting to order at 9 a.m.
Jerry Bayne moved, seconded by Warren Mason, that the minutes
the June 26, 1999, meeting be approved as presented in the Summer 1999
newsletter. Motion carried.
Jerry Bayne presented the treasurer's report. The Society
expenses of $1,779 and accrued revenues of $2,989 from 7/1/99 to
From 1/1/00 to 9/30/00 expenses were $5,865 and revenues $5,628.56. The
operating account balance as of 9/30/00 was $6,273.89. Vanessa Faurie
moved, seconded by Don Sackrider, that the treasurer's report be
First Novel Fellowship Committee Chair Mike Lennon reported
558 manuscripts were submitted for the 2000 competition generating
in entry fees. Total expenses listed were $12,476.68. The 2000
incurred a shortfall of $4,106.68 deducted from the endowment fund. The
endowment balance (9/30/00) is $126,320.43. Minus the $4.106.68
the balance (9/12/00) is $122,213.75.
Finance Committee Chair Warren Mason presented the general
investment fund report as of October 2000. He reported all the funds
doing well. The original investment of $21,000 in July 1998 is
valued at $25,882, with a total return of 23.24 percent. The $50,000 CD
Crawford County State Bank in Robinson, Ill., is presently in a holding
account at 6 percent interest. The James Jones Literary Society
account has a total of $8,207. It was moved by Jerry Bayne, seconded by
Judy Everson, that two signatures be required to liquidate any account
$500. Motion carried.
Membership Chair Kathy Stillwell reported that 250 members
currently enrolled in the Society. Between June 1999 and October 2000
Society added 32 new members. Seven became life members (including
four-Joseph Heller, Peter Mattheissen, Norman Mailer, and Budd
Schulberg-upon whom the Society conferred life memberships in gratitude
their participation in the 1999 symposium). Other new life members
June 1999 are Col. Robert R. Rice of Glendale, Wis., and Victor Lary of
Springfield, Ill. Longtime member Letty Inman Egebrecht of Robinson,
also upgraded to life membership. During the same time span, the
lost 64 members. One member, Joseph Heller, died, and 63 members failed
renew their memberships. The numbers represent an aggregate loss of 32
names on the membership roster.
Ray Elliott reported that the central Illinois area from
south to Robinson and including southern Indiana was pretty well
with various media announcements and print releases about the Society's
2000 symposium. David Nightingale, in addition, will manage releases
Kaylie Jones reported that the Paris 2002 symposium idea was
received enthusiastically by the American University in Paris. On a
earlier this month, Kaylie spoke with Roy Rosenstein and other
officials. They offered free use of the campus meeting facilities and
suggested possible activities such as a walking literary tour of Paris.
Mike Lennon moved, seconded by Jerry Bayne, that the 2002 symposium be
in June in Paris, France, the details to be worked out by the board.
Under new business Ray Elliott accepted the chair position of
2001 Symposium Committee to include Diane Reed, David and Margot
Nightingale, Juanita Martin and Jerry Bayne. Ray will continue to work
Dick Grogg to coordinate the Elderhostel program to coincide with the
symposium. Jerry Bayne respectfully requested a change from the 2001
Committee to the 2002 Committee. Dwight Connelly will replace Jerry on
Mike Lennon read three letters of resignation from Helen
Vanessa Faurie and Margot Nightingale. Helen Howe and Vanessa Faurie
requested that their resignations from the board be accepted. Margot
Nightingale, Secretary, respectfully requested to trade positions with
Kathy Stillwell, Membership Chair. Helen Howe, because of her long and
invaluable association with the board since its inception, requested to
made an Honorary Board Member. Mike moved that Helen Howe become an
Honorary Board Member, seconded by G. Cullom Davis. Motion carried.
Mike Lennon moved, seconded by Michael Mullins, that the
changed regarding board total from 24 to 27 members. Motion carried.
Mike Lennon moved, seconded by Vanessa Faurie, that the following board
members be nominated for three-year terms ending in 2003; Carl Becker,
Kevin Heisler, Claude-Marie Lane, Jack Morris, Jon Shirota and Robert
Thobaben, along with new nominees Diane Reed and Cullom Davis. Motion
Michael Lennon moved, seconded by Judy Everson, the
David Nightingale and Robert Klaus to the board, with terms to expire
2001. Motion carried.
Michael Lennon moved, seconded by Judy Everson, the
Barbara ones to the board for a two-year term to expire in 2002. Motion
Mike Lennon moved, seconded by Judy Everson, the nomination of
following officers for 2000-2001: Don Sackrider, President; Jerry
Vice President and Treasurer; Kathy Stillwell, Secretary; Tom Wood,
Historian/Archivist. Motion carried.
Mike Lennon moved, seconded by Judy Everson, that the
thanks of the Society to Vanessa Faurie and Helen Howe for their
contributions to the Society over the last several years and since
inception, respectively, should be duly noted in the minutes. Motion
Judy Everson thanked Vanessa Faurie and Ray Elliott for their
hours of service to the Society over the last two years. She noted
invaluable service and dedication to the success and furtherance of the
Society and its stated goals.
Warren Mason, Commemorative Stamp Committee Chair, announced
the James Jones Commemorative Stamp is still before the U.S. Postal
committee for consideration. He has addresses available for anyone who
wishes to write a letter to the committee on behalf of a James Jones
Don Sackrider commented on the current dilemma with the
newsletter. Ray and
Vanessa continue to request to be relieved from this additional
responsibility. They are willing to publish one more edition. Don noted
that one or two issues a year may be one solution to the problem if
temporarily. Kaylie volunteered Kevin as a possible editor. Discussion
Michael Lennon stated that thanks and gratitude with deep
appreciation should be given to Barbara Jones and Nancy Romero of the
University of Illinois Library's Rare Book and Special Collections Room
their compilation of the marvelous Jones exhibit presented for the
Symposium, to the Illinois Humanities Council for its continued support
the amount of $2,000, and the University of Illinois College of
Communication for its monetary support.
-- Kathy Stillwell, Secretary
James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony
To pre-order your copy of this long awaited forthcoming book
by George Hendrick, Helen Howe, and Don Sackrider, access the links
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