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Francois Mignon Collection

Biographical Sketch


Francois Mignon claimed to have been born and educated in France. In actuality, Mignon was born May 9, 1899 in Cortland, New York to Walter Fish Mineah and Mary Ella Mineah. Mignon's given name at birth was Frank VerNooy Mineah. Although many details of his early life are unknown, it is known that Mignon attended school in Cortland, and was an undergraduate at Columbia University during late 1921 and early 1922. Mignon's interests were well beyond Cortland, and eventually he moved to New York City.
Mignon long had a fascination with French culture, and according to unconfirmed sources, may have traveled there as a child. Testimony from a coworker provides evidence that Mignon had began using his French pseudonym as early as 1935. Mignon worked at B. Westermann Company, an international bookstore, in New York City from 1932 through 1939. Around this same time, Mignon's eyesight had begun to dramatically deteriorate, a condition that would continue the rest of his life.
Also during this period, Mignon traveled to New Orleans, where he met Lyle Saxon. Saxon was the director of the Federal Writers Project, a WPA-implemented program for unemployed writers. It was through Saxon that Mignon eventually met Cammie G. Henry, matriarch of Melrose Plantation in rural Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Henry had always supported the arts, and was known for allowing artistic individuals to stay on her grounds as long as they were producing creatively. After visiting Melrose, Mignon moved permanently there in the Fall of 1939.

Scope and Content


The collection concerns Mignon's interest of the American South, and more specifically the Cane River area of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Included are materials documenting his research, writing and artistic impressions of the region. The correspondence is both social and professional, and offers an insight into daily plantation life and events. Additionally, Mignon's correspondence with Cammie G. Henry gives the researcher a personal look into Henry's attitudes, beliefs and philosophies. Of particular note are photographs taken by Mignon of Melrose Plantation and other unique building that are still contained on the grounds. Also included are copies of Plantation Memos, his weekly newspaper column that ran from 1957-1970. In this column Mignon wrote about subjects depicting the Old South era, a time he considered romantic and fading. The materials include scrapbooks, correspondence, clippings, diaries, photographs and paintings.

Inventory


1. Correspondents with surnames beginning with A, 1971-1973

2. Correspondents with surnames beginning with B, 1970-1973

3. Letters from Letitia Bowman and Camela Bedingfield, 1970-1972

4. Letters from Helen Baldwin, Christian Belle, Helen Boagni, 1970-1973

5. Letters from Nell Brandon, Bernard E. Bruns and carbon copy reply, circa 1939, 1970

6. Letters from Nita Sims Breazeale, 1974-1975

7. Correspondence with people whose names begin with C, 1971-1973

8. Letters from Hilda Carraway and the Chalkleys, 1970

9. Letters from City Bank & Trust Company, 1973

10. Letters from John R. Cotton, 1972

11. Correspondence with people whose names begin with E, 1972-1973

12. Letters from Robina Denholm and Sister Dorothea, 1939, 1971, undated

13. Letters from Caroline Dormon and carbon copy replies, clippings, 1969-1971

14. Correspondents with surnames beginning E, 1972-1973

15. Correspondents with surnames beginning with F, 1970-1971

16. Letters from Erna Fasse, 1950, 1971

17. Correspondence with Fisk University, 1971-1972

18. Correspondence from Rudolph Fuchs, 1939, 1971-1972

19. Letters from people whose names begin with G, 1970-1973

20. Letters from people whose names begin with H, 1939, 1971-1974

21. Correspondence with Lloyd Hawthorne, 1971

22. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, September 1938 - November 1938

23. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, December 1938 - January 1939

24. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, February 1939

25. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, March 1939

26. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, April 1939

27. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, May 1-18, 1939

28. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, May 19-30, 1939

29. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, June 1-7, 1939

30. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, June 8-20, 1939

31. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, July 4-19, 1939

32. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, July 24-31, 1939

33. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, August 1-5, 1939

34. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, August 18-30, 1939

35. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, September 2-16, 1939

36. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, September 19-30, 1939

37. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, October 2-23, 1939

38. Letters from Mrs. Cammie G. Henry, November 1939

39. Typed copy of 1934 diary

40. Typed copies of Mrs. Henry's 1930 letters

41. Statements about Mrs. Cammie G. Henry

42. Letters from Jack Holden, Ethel Hollomon, circa 1950, 1970

43. Doreen Holt; inquiries about Clementine Hunter, 1970-1972

44. Iris society, 1941; J and K letters, 1971-1974

45. Janet Kyser, Thelma Kyser, 1971-1973

46. Correspondence with people whose names begin with the letter L, 1971-1974

47. Pauline LaCaze, 1970-1972

48. Esther Everett Lape, 1970-1972

49. Correspondence with people whose names begin with M

50. Manuscripts by Francois Mignon

51 About Marie Therese Coin Coin

52 Naomi Marshall

53 Metoyer, Etienne Jacque, and an unsigned letter

54 Francois Mignon business

55 Elizabeth Mills

56 Correspondence with people whose names begin with N

57 Natchez, Mississippi

58 Correspondence with people whose names begin with O

59 Correspondence with people whose names begin with P

60 Port Gibson, Walter C. Peters, Anne Parrish

61 Correspondence with people whose names begin with R

62 Carolyn Ramsay, Mrs. Paul King Rand, Eugene Ray

63 Vivian Radosta

64 Register, Bernie Robertson, Father Rosso

65 Martha Robinson

66 Names beginning with S

67 Copies Lyle Saxon; Ruth Schmidt, Robert Snyder

68 Shreveport Times

69 Susan Dabney Smedes

70 David Snell

71 Georgia Spinks, Elizabeth Brandon Stanton

72 Correspondence with people whose names begin with T

73 Clara Tyson

74 Correspondence with people whose names begin with U

75 Correspondence with people whose names begin with V and W

76 Correspondence with people whose names begin with W

77 Ursula Walker

78 Marta Ward, Ora Williams, and family clippings

79 Mrs. M. B. Wilson, Mrs. Chas. Wood

80 Correspondence with people whose names begin with Y and Z

81 Letters signed by first names only

82 Miscellaneous paper number 1

83 Cammie G. Henry letters

84 Miscellaneous papers number 2

85 Book orders

86 Typed copies of letters to Mrs. Henry

87 Items removed from a book in the Mignon collection

88 Typed preface to proposed book about Miss Cammie

89 Clipping about family and friends

90 Clementine Hunter (for clippings see vertical files)

91 Jules Lion

92 Natchez, Mississippi items

93 Natchez Mississippi Clippings

94 Materials about Natchitoches

95 By or about Carolyn Ramsey

96 Photographs of Mrs. Cammie G. Henry

97 Photographs of Clementine Hunter

98 Photographs of the Melrose area

99 Photographs African House

100 Photographs Ghana House

101 Photographs Yucca exterior

102 Photographs Yucca interior

103 Photos: Melrose gardens and buildings

104 Photos: Metoyer portraits

105 Photographs of Francois Mignon

106 Photographs of Francois Mignon

107 Photographs of Natchez, Mississippi houses

108 Pictures of Natchitoches, Natchitoches plates

109 Pictures of paintings

110 Pictures of plantation houses

111 Photographs: Narcissee Prudhomme

112 Photographs: Lyle Saxon, Mrs. Storm

113 Photographs: unidentified places

114 Photographs: unidentified people

115 Photographs: Carolyn Ramsey

116 1864 document and typed copy

117 Letters to Dr. Dunn; Dunn's notes

118 Letter from Leudivine Garrett

119 Jefferson, Texas

120 Melrose photographs and commentary

121 Melrose photographs and commentary

122 Melrose photographs and commentary

123 Melrose photographs and commentary

124 Typescript Autobiography of the Rev. Benj. Chase

125 Mrs. Henry's address book full of loose items

126 Signed Doris Ulmann photographs (in oversize box)

127 1820 land conveyance deed

128 John Cotton correspondence, writings, and photocopy C.G. Henry letter, F. Mignon correspondence, 1965, 1970, 1976, undated

129 Francois Mignon business papers, 1970-1975

130 Francois Mignon Medicare and succession, 1980

131 Francois Mignon honors, 1971

132 Items about Francois Mignon, 1980-1981

133 Eighteen-page typed article by James Register about Clementine Hunter, undated; snapshots of Natchez, Mississippi; pilgrimage information, 1936; signed Francois Mignon letter about Clementine Hunter's panels, 1955; typed copy of Oakland College history in letter from Dunbar Hunt dated 1900; giving later history Alcorn College

133B Photographs of unidentified African American rural workers (assumed to me taken in Cane River area) undated

134 Manuscript columns and material for columns, undated
Photographs of unidentified African American rural workers (assumed to me taken in Cane River area) undated

135 Plantation Memo typescript, proof, one illustration

136 Indexes to columns by date

137 Indexes to columns by subject

138 Address book

139 Manuscript diary kept by a New Orleans person, 1848

140 Behrend painting, 1932