This room’s walls were originally covered with wildlife murals done by Ellen Bailey. Faulkner whitewashed the walls, then plastered and papered them.
Faulkner’s mother, Maud Butler Falkner (William Faulkner added the “u” to his name in 1918), was an accomplished painter. Her paintings in the library (beginning on the left) depict a magnolia blossom, William Faulkner C. 1929 (above the mantel) and, in order beginning at the far right bookcase, Preacher Green Liggin, Col. Wm. C. Falkner (Faulkner’s father) and J.W.T. Falkner (Faulkner’s grandfather).
Faulkner built the bookshelves himself, building in locking compartments on the bottom to store his shotgun shells. Marnarz, a Brazilian artist who was a pupil of Jean Arp, gave the sculpture on the table to Faulkner. The bust of Don Quixote was acquired in Venezuela. Faulkner wrote in this room until he built his own writing room at the rear of the house.
This room was the site of many special occasions for the Faulkner family, including the wedding receptions for his daughter, Jill, and niece, Dean. The funeral viewing for Caroline Barr, Faulkner’s “Mammy”, took place here in 1940. Faulkner’s own funeral was held in this room. The Chickering piano was Estelle’s, and her sheet music collection was stored in the cabinet beneath the Japanese doll brought back from Faulkners’ Nagano visit in 1955. The gold-framed portrait of Faulkner in his riding habit is an oil-painted Cofied Studio photograph.
(3) Dining Room
The two French doors lead to a porch and a “patio” a bit further east. They were added to extend the living space of the dining area into the yard. Faulkner would often type on the patio. The large painting was done by his mother, Maud Falkner. The two narrow doors on the left lead to a pantry and the kitchen.
(4) Office/Writing Room
Faulkner built this room after 1950. The plot of ‘A Fable’ is written on the wall in Faulkner’s hand. He used graphite pencil and a red grease pencil to set down the working plan of the novel, which is about Holy Week set during World War I. The outline is similar to the storyboard techniques he used when he was a screenwriter in Hollywood. The small table where the typewriter rests was given to him by his mother. He used it virtually all the years he lived at Rowan Oak, sometimes moving it outside with one of the Adirondack charis to enjoy the outdoors while he wrote. To the left of the door is a small fold-up desk made by Faulkner and his stepson, Malcom.
(5) Back Hall
This was used as an informal music room, and Faulkner often read here.