Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the John S. Phillips Papers

Accession Number: 58
John S. Phillips, 1899-
Papers: 1916-1964
Bulk Dates: 1940-1964
4.4 linear feet.
Online Catalog Record (BANC)

Series Description
Series I - Published Columns and Articles
Series II - Original Stories, Scripts, and Poems
Series III - Typescript of novel, George Samson
Series IV - Photographs and Clippings
Series V - Miscellaneous

Access and Use

Provenance: This collection was obtained from a family member. There are no restrictions placed on this collection other than federal copyright regulations.

Preferred Citation: John S. Phillips Papers, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky.

Series Description
10 Manuscript Boxes, 1 Oversize Box

Series I Published Columns and Articles Boxes 1-7

Phillips mounted newspaper clippings of his columns and articles on notebook paper and dated them. These were written between 1959 and 1964 for the Raleigh Register, an afternoon paper, and the Post Herald and Register, a morning paper. Besides reporting for the Post Herald farm page, Phillips regularly wrote two columns: “Bug Dust,” for the Register, and “Speaking of Neighbors,” for the Post Herald and Register.

Box 1

  1. Newspaper Articles Dec. 1959
  2. Newspaper Articles Jan.1960-Feb.1960
  3. Newspaper Articles Mar.1960-April.1960
  4. Newspaper Articles May 1960-June 1960
  5. Newspaper Articles July 1960-August 1960
  6. Newspaper Articles September 1960-October 1960

Box 2

  1. Newspaper Articles November 1960-December 1960
  2. Newspaper Articles January 1961-February 1961
  3. Newspaper Articles March 1961-April 1961
  4. Newspaper Articles May 1961-June 1961

Box 3

  1. Newspaper Articles July 1961-August 1961
  2. Newspaper Articles September 1961-October 1961
  3. Newspaper Articles November 1961-December 1961
  4. Newspaper Articles January 1962-February 1962

Box 4

  1. Newspaper Articles March 1962- April 1962
  2. Newspaper Articles May 1962- June 1962
  3. Newspaper Articles July 1962-August 1962
  4. Newspaper Articles September 1962-October 1962

Box 5

  1. Newspaper Articles November 1962-December 1962
  2. Newspaper Articles January 1963-February 1963
  3. Newspaper Articles March 1963- April 1963
  4. Newspaper Articles May 1963- June 1963

Box 6

  1. Newspaper Articles July 1963- August 1963
  2. Newspaper Articles September 1963-October 1963
  3. Newspaper Articles November 1963-December1963
  4. Newspaper Articles January 1964- February 1964

Box 7

  1. Newspaper Articles March 1964- April 1964
  2. Newspaper Articles May 1964-June 1964
  3. Newspaper Supplements- fire Oct 2,1960; Oct 1, 1961;Sep 29,1963
Series II Original Stories, Scripts, and Poems Box 8

This series contains some of Phillips’ more serious writing as well as some comic sketches and poems. “The Stalker of the Big Storm” (1944) is a serial mystery, with “to be continued” at the end of each section. “A Pioneer Home” is apparently historical fiction, a story of an Indian/settler confrontation in early Virginia. “Squared Accounts” presents a betrayed moonshiner. Phillips’ memoirs include an account of a remarkable dog (“The Moon Sets in the Morning”), and a lot of stories from growing up in coal towns (“From Away Back”). “The Day I Was Alone” is a memorable short story, but may well be based on situations known to the author. One radio script is intended to present information to veterans, while the other is entertaining fiction. Also included are typescripts and copies or clippings of original poems written between 1920 and 1964—most of them between 1923 and 1944. A handwritten poem is dated 1916. The most successful are verses in dialect like “Jack’s Theory” or “Runty Pig.” Phillips collected his verse in a manuscript he entitled “Beyond the Moat.”

Box 8

  1. The Stalker of Big Storm
  2. Squared Account
  3. A Pioneer Home
  4. The Day I was Alone
  5. The Moon Sets in the Morning
  6. From Away Back
  7. Misc. Short Stories
  8. Radio Scripts [from other sources]
  9. Beyond the Moat - Draft
  10. Beyond the Moat
  11. Original Copies of Poems
Series III Typescript of Novel, George Samson Box 9

Phillip’s novel follows a young man of the prohibition era from his mountain home to the state capital, where his intelligence and ambition lead him to organize the local homebrew vendors, gaining wealth and power at moral and personal cost. Finally, motivated by his interest in an attractive college girl and various crises in the city’s underworld, he exits the rackets, but when the woman he loves rejects him he sinks into alcoholism. After friends bring him back to sobriety and restored health, he invests in legitimate business, enters university, and reconnects with his family. He marries, and his future looks bright. Yet he does not escape the revenge of a mountain man in his home town.

Box 9

  1. George Samson - Chapter 1
  2. George Samson - Chapter 2,3,4
  3. George Samson - Chapter 5,6,7,8
  4. George Samson - Chapter 9-14
  5. George Samson - Chapter 15-20
  6. George Samson - Chapter 21-25
  7. George Samson - Chapter 26-30
  8. George Samson - Chapter 31-35
  9. George Samson - Chapter 36-42
Series IV Photographs & Clippings Box 10

This series consists largely of formal photos from Phillips’ public career, especially from the “Peace Week” celebration he organized in 1948. Among the special guests was West Virginia native Capt. Chuck Yeager, already renowned as a test pilot, and Brigadier General Anthony “Nuts” MacAuliffe. There are shots of the parade in Charleston and the special guests with city and state leaders. The loose photos range from an early portrait of young Phillips, inscribed to his parents, to clippings about a 1961 performance of The Rainmaker, in which Phillips played a role. They document WGKV-NBC events, and a farewell gathering of WHTN staff. The scrapbooks document the trip to Alaska that the Air Force arranged to publicize its long range capabilities immediately after World War II.

Box 10

  1. Photographs
  2. “Operation Larkspur” (Air Force project)
  3. Miscellaneous
Series V Miscellaneous Box 11

The large artifacts consist of a framed drawing of John Shem Phillips from 1948, done by Kandall Vintroux for the Charleston Gazette’s “Guess Who” feature, a Kentucky Colonel certificate signed by Governor Lawrence Wetherby in 1954, and a scrapbook featuring articles by and about Phillips, including a regular column called “Hidden Trails” that he wrote for the Kanawha Valley Leader. The scrapbook includes a whole section about the launching of WHTN Huntington’s TV broadcasts, with John Phillips as station manager. A newspaper account of the Hawk’s Nest scandal, mentioning David Phillips, is entitled “Town of the Living Dead. ”

Box 11

  1. Artifacts

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