John Henry Faulk Oral History Collection, 1990
Folklorist, humorist, lecturer, and civil rights activist John Henry Faulk (1913-1990) was born to parents Henry and Martha (Miner) in Austin, Texas. A protégé of J. Frank Dobie, Walter Prescott Webb, and Roy Bedichek, Faulk graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he later taught English. For his master's thesis, he analyzed ten African American sermons, and his research greatly impacted his thinking on civil liberties. Aided by his friend and fellow folklorist Alan Lomax, Faulk entered the entertainment industry in 1946, hosting various radio shows for WCBS in New York City. In 1957, the right-wing organization AWARE, Inc., blacklisted Faulk for alleged communist associations and sympathies. Subsequently, he filed and won a libel suit against the company and anti-communist activists Vincent Hartnett and Laurence A. Johnson. In 1963, Faulk published a memoir of his blacklisting experience entitled Fear on Trial, which in 1975 CBS dramatized, starring William Devane as Faulk and George C. Scott as his attorney Louis Nizer. Despite being vindicated by the jury, Faulk was unable to gain meaningful employment in the entertainment industry until 1975, when he joined the cast of Hee-Haw. He wrote and produced two one-man plays, Deep in the Heart (1986) and Pear Orchard, Texas (1988), to highlight humanity's best and worst traits.
Beginning in the 1970s, Faulk lectured extensively about civil liberties on college and university campuses. Campaigning on his passion for the U.S. Constitution, the environment, and the common man, he unsuccessfully ran against Phil Gramm for a U.S. House of Representatives in Texas in 1983. Faulk married his former student Harriet "Hally" Wood in 1940. The couple had one daughter, Cynthia, before divorcing. In 1948, he married Lynne Smith, with whom he had three children: Evelyn, Johanna, and Frank Dobie. After divorcing Lynne, Faulk married Elizabeth "Liz" Peake in 1965 and they had one child, John Henry "Johan" III. He was close friends with Austin television and radio broadcaster, Richard "Cactus" Pryor, and was a mentor to journalist and activist, Molly Ivins. Faulk died of cancer in 1990.
Foshee, Page S. "Faulk, John Henry." Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 20, 2012. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffa36.
The John Henry Faulk Oral History Collection, 1990, contains oral history interviews of family and friends of John Henry Faulk conducted by Barbara S. Griffith and Sheree Scarborough for the Center for American History (now the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History) in 1990. The collection includes taped oral history interviews and interview transcripts. Persons interviewed include Texana Faulk Conn, Molly Ivins, Mary Faulk Koock, Karen Kuykendall, Ann Faulk McAffee, Kaye Northcott, and Jan Patterson.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.
John Henry Faulk Oral History Collection, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Collection