William Faulkner Quits His Post Office Job in Splendid Fashion with a 1924 Resignation Letter

Long before William Faulkner got his big break in literature, he, like many of us, had a good old-fashioned day job. Faulkner had a series of odd jobs in fact. But, most famously, he worked from 1921 to 1924 as the postmaster at the University of Mississippi, where, according to legend, he did the following: sometimes threw mail in the garbage, other times read magazines before bringing them to people’s homes, often played cards and wrote fiction during working hours, occasionally went golfing instead of delivering mail, and generally ignored his colleagues and customers. But, who could blame him? Especially when he earned $20,000 in today’s money and had great literary ambitions to pursue. Eventually, when a postal inspector came to investigate, Faulkner resigned. The resignation letter, recently highlighted by Letters of Note, is short (a mere 56 words) and cutting. But, scathing as it was, it didn’t stop the US postal system from issuing a commemorative Faulkner stamp in 1987.

October, 1924

As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.

This, sir, is my resignation.

(Signed by Faulkner)

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William Faulkner Reads from As I Lay Dying



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  1. Anon says . . . | September 30, 2012 / 6:46 am

    “sometimes threw mail in the garbage, other times read magazines before bringing them to people’s homes, often played cards and wrote fiction during working hours, occasionally went golfing instead of delivering mail, and generally ignored his colleagues and customers.”

    So he had terrible business ethics. Is this article supposed to be a praise of this kind of behavior because “lulz capitalism iz oppressive?”

    Also, the quality and focus of the posts on here seems to be going down. It makes me sad as a reader.

  2. louis says . . . | September 30, 2012 / 1:45 pm

    “capitalism” as you state in your post, and then go on to say the quality and focus of other posts are going down ? if this isn’t the pot calling the kettle black. October, 1924

    As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.

    This, sir, is my resignation.

    (Signed by Faulkner)

    simply put without reading to much into it… Long before William Faulkner got his big break in literature, he, like many of us, had a good old-fashioned day job. Faulkner had a series of odd jobs in fact. But, most famously, he worked from 1921 to 1924 as the postmaster at the University of Mississippi, just not his cup of tea…Anon,You have a valid point. if you feel your job “capitalism” is “oppressive” you have the freedom to persue other employment.

  3. patricksperry says . . . | September 30, 2012 / 8:45 pm

    Yeah, okay BUKOWSKI

  4. John Stewart says . . . | October 1, 2012 / 2:34 am

    Don’t fret about his politics, too much; appreciate his sense of humor.

  5. LORD OF THE OOHAHA says . . . | October 1, 2012 / 6:55 am

    Anon makes insultingly obvious comment. No worthy career in literary criticism will ever be click-clacking out of this downie’s brain-billiards.

    louis is somehow too stupid to actually read Anon’s prior message and somehow validates Anon’s non-point in the process.

    I write a fragmented, passive-aggressive decrying of Two Absolute Retards™.

  6. Deposit-Methods says . . . | October 2, 2012 / 9:04 am

    The comments are as good as the post!!

    ” But, who could blame him? Especially when he earned $20,000 in today’s money and had great literary ambitions to pursue.”….I could blame him as he’s getting paid to do a job that he accepted! That makes him a thief not a cool guy because it’s stealing! And what does his literary ambitions have to do with it? He only spent a small amount of time while he was stealing money from the post office writing the rest was spent doing anything else it seems….

  7. Hobob says . . . | October 2, 2012 / 12:08 pm

    What strikes me is the humorous irony of former Postal “enfant terrible” Faulkner ending up on a Postal Stamp. The rest isn’t so surprising considering his alchohol intake. Oops, better get back to work…

  8. blackbower says . . . | September 25, 2013 / 8:26 am

    your post makes you sad as a writer, too. get well soon.

  9. RAS says . . . | March 22, 2014 / 10:37 pm

    I am grateful he focused on his craft rather than delivering mail and selling stamps. That would have been an incredible waste of talent. But of course, Americans eagerly defend the capitalistic regime, favoring the all mighty dollar over everything else.

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