Kathryn Tucker Windham
|Kathryn Tucker Windham|
Windham on her balcony in Selma in 2007
June 2, 1918|
|Died||June 12, 2011
|Occupation||Journalist, short story writer, storyteller, photographer|
Windham got her first writing job at the age of 12, reviewing movies for her cousin's small town newspaper, The Thomasville Times. She earned a B.A. degree from Huntingdon College in 1939. Soon after graduating she became a reporter for the Alabama Journal. Starting in 1944, she worked for The Birmingham News. In 1946 she married Amasa Benjamin Windham with whom she had three children. In 1956 she went to work at the Selma Times-Journal where she won several Associated Press awards for her writing and photography. She died on June 12, 2011.
Kathryn Tucker Windham wrote a series of books of "true" ghost stories, based on local folklore, beginning with 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey (1969). Other titles were Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts (1971), 13 Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey (1973), 13 Mississippi Ghosts and Jeffrey (1974), 13 Tennessee Ghosts and Jeffrey (1976), and Jeffrey's Latest 13: More Alabama Ghosts (1982). In 2004, she wrote Jeffrey's Favorite 13 Ghost Stories, which was a collection of featured stories from the previous books.
Jeffrey is a purported ghost that took up residence in the Windham house in October 1966. According to a letter printed in the foreword to 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, Windham became interested in ghost stories after this ghost began to haunt her family. At first, the family heard footsteps in rooms that would later be found empty. Sometimes, objects had been moved.
A photo of Jeffrey was accidentally taken when some young people visiting the Windham home decided to play with a Ouija board in an effort to contact the ghost. When photos from that night were developed, a dark shadowy blot with a vaguely human-like shape was found to be in one image. Soon after this picture was taken, Windham contacted Margaret Gillis Figh, who was a noted collector of ghost stories, to ask about Jeffrey. Out of that meeting, the idea for 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey was inspired.
Following an invitation to speak at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, Windham began to gain attention for storytelling. She often appeared at storytelling events, historical meetings and classrooms. Her stories about ghosts and growing up and living in the Southern United States have earned her a place on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, which brought her national attention and praise. She also performed stories and gave commentaries on Alabama Public Radio's Alabama Life.
Windham is the founder of the Alabama Tale Tellin' Festival, which has been held annually in Selma since 1978. Kathryn Tucker Windham appeared on stage in a one-woman play about Julia Tutwiler. Named They Call Me Julia,it was based on Windham's book of the same name.
The Thomasville campus of Alabama Southern Community College is the site of the Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum. Her personal papers and manuscripts from 1939–2010 were donated to the special collections department of the Auburn University Libraries.
Honors and film
On December 14, 1993, she was awarded the Honorary Degree Doctor of Literature from the University of Montevallo.
On August 18, 2003, she was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, having been nominated by the novelist Harper Lee, also from that state. In 2008, Windham was named ABA Citizen of the Year by the Alabama Broadcasters Association.
- Treasured Alabama Recipes, Strode Publishers (1964)
- 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey, Strode Publishers (1969), ISBN 978-0-8173-0376-1
- Exploring Alabama, Strode Publishers (1970)
- Jeffrey Introduces 13 More Southern Ghosts, Strode Publishers (1971), ISBN 978-0-8173-0381-5
- Treasured Tennessee Recipes, Strode Publishers (1972)
- Treasured Georgia Recipes, Strode Publishers (1973)
- 13 Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey, Strode Publishers (1973), ISBN 978-0-8173-0377-8
- 13 Mississippi Ghosts and Jeffrey, Strode Publishers (1974), ISBN 978-0-8173-0379-2
- Southern Cooking to Remember, Strode Publishers (1974), ISBN 978-0-87397-098-3
- Alabama: One Big Front Porch, Strode Publishers (1975), ISBN 978-0-87397-089-1
- 13 Tennessee Ghosts and Jeffrey, Strode Publishers (1976), ISBN 978-0-87397-108-9
- The Ghost in the Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham Historical Society and AmSouth Bank (1978)
- Count Those Buzzards! Stamp Those Grey Mules!: Superstitions remembered from a Southern childhood, Strode Publishers (1979), ISBN 978-0-87397-149-2
- Jeffrey's Latest 13: More Alabama Ghosts, Strode Publishers (1982), ISBN 978-0-87397-232-1
- Terrible Legends in America, Seibido (1986) ISBN 978-4-7919-0037-4
- A Serigamy of Stories, University Press of Mississippi (1988), ISBN 978-0-87805-354-4
- Odd-egg Editor, University Press of Mississippi (1990), ISBN 978-0-585-18010-6
- The Autobiography of a Bell, United Methodist Children's Home (1991)
- My Name is Julia, Birmingham Public Library Press (1991) ISBN 978-0-942301-18-2
- A Sampling of Selma Stories, Selma Printing Service (1991)
- Twice Blessed, Black Belt Press (1996) ISBN 978-1-881320-47-0
- Encounters, Black Belt Press (1997), ISBN 978-1-881320-94-4
- The Bridal Wreath Bush, Black Belt Press (1999), ISBN 978-1-880216-92-7
- Piano Lessons and Other Recollections, Major Tiara Press (2000)
- It's Christmas!, River City Publishers (2002), ISBN 978-1-57966-031-4
- Common Threads : Photographs and Stories from the South CKM Press (2004) ISBN 978-0-9636713-1-8
- Jeffrey's Favorite 13 Ghost Stories, New South Books (2004), ISBN 978-1-58838-170-5
- Ernest's Gift, Junebug Books (2004), ISBN 978-1-58838-149-1
- Twice Blessed, River City Publishers (2007), ISBN 978-1-57966-080-2
- Spit, Scarey Ann, and Sweat Bees: One Thing Leads to Another, NewSouth Books (2009), ISBN 978-1-58838-240-5
- She: The Old Woman Who Took Over My Life, NewSouth Books (2011), ISBN 978-1-58838-278-8
- "Alabama legend Kathryn Tucker Windham dies". Montgomery Advertiser.
- Frances Osborn Robb (June 30, 2008). "Kathryn Tucker Windham". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- Dennis Hevesi (June 15, 2008). "Kathryn T. Windham, a Storyteller of the South, Dies at 93". New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
- "Alabama Academy of Honor: Kathryn Tucker Windham". State of Alabama. March 15, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- "A Southern Treasure". Expression. Archived from the original on February 5, 2006. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Windham, Kathryn Tucker; Margaret Gillis Figh (1969). 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey. Huntsville, Alabama: Strode Publishers. pp. VII–IX. ISBN 978-0-8173-0376-1.
- "Kathryn Tucker Windham's commentaries on Alabama Public Radio". Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- "Alabama Tale Tellin' Festival October 8–9, 2010". Retrieved June 13, 2011.
- "Kathryn Tucker Windham Museum". Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- "Manuscript and Archival Collections". Auburn University Libraries. Auburn University. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- Windham, Ben, "Ben Windham: An Encounter with Harper Lee," The Tuscaloosa News 24 August 2003.
- "ABA Citizen of the Year". Alabama Broadcasters Association.
- "Kathryn: The Story of a Teller". Allmusic (AMG). Fandango. Retrieved June 17, 2011.