The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum held its second “Night for the Museum” for the 2011 series of speakers to a history seeking group on Monday night, March 14th, 2011. The event highlighted the life of one of the South’s and Minden’s forgotten literary greats, Ada Jack Carver Snell. Snell was the subject of Dr. Donnis Taylor’s doctoral dissertation, making Taylor the expert on the subject of Ada Jack Carver: that is to say if anyone can be on someone whose life was surrounded in mystery and reclusiveness.
Dr. Taylor’s extensive research on this woman that died in 1972 in a nursing home in Minden was evident. From the earliest writings of Carver, to her life at home with her parents, later her life here in Minden and then the tragic death of her young son were all highlighted in the evening’s museum event.
“I think everyone really came away with a feeling of who, what and why about Ada Jack, especially after hearing the tragic story of the scalding death of her child.” commented an attendee of the night. The whole story of Carver may never be truly known, but Dr. Taylor’s work has uncovered many unanswered questions and cleared up dates and contradictions of the past. Carver began to publish in 1915, but her most intense creative activity occurred in the mid-1920s with works published in Harper’s and several other well-known publications of that era. There will always be numerous unresolved mysteries surrounding the relationship between her life and her work. Ada Jack Carver Snell died in December of 1972 and is buried at the Minden Cemetery by her husband and infant son.
If you would like to hear the story as told by Dr. Taylor you can contact the museum for your copy of the DVD for $10 each. For more information contact Schelley Brown at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com . You can also find the museum on Facebook.
“Ada Jack Carver Snell, Minden’s Forgotten Literary Giant”, will be the subject of the March 14th, 2011, Dorcheat Historical Association Museum’s “Night For The Museum”. Dr. Donnis Taylor will be speaking about one of the South’s greatest women authors. Dr. Taylor was born in El Dorado, Arkansas and lived there until she moved to Ruston to attend Louisiana Tech. In the middle of her freshman year, she married Sonny Taylor, a Ruston native. In 1963, the couple moved to Minden, when Sonny was hired to teach and coach at Minden High School. Dr. Taylor began her teaching career in Webster Parish, spending one year in Dubberly and four in Sibley before transferring to Minden High School, where she is remembered by many for teaching English twenty-four years before “retiring” from the public school system to enter higher education.
She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Louisiana Tech, and earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree at Southwestern Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette). Shortly after her retirement from Webster Parish, she accepted a position at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, where she is presently an associate professor of English, teaching Comp I, Lit I, and Advanced Composition. Every three years, when Southern Lit is offered, she teaches that as well, which gives her an opportunity to teach the works of Ada Jack Carver, alongside those of other great Southern writers.
Taylor is an active member of the Arkansas Philological Association (APA) and in 2009 served as the organization’s state president. She has presented numerous papers at APA and other professional conferences, and most of them have been about Ada Jack Carver, the subject of her doctoral dissertation. Four years ago, Dr. Taylor was awarded a Southern Arkansas University faculty research grant, which enabled her to do even more extensive research on the Minden author. One of the results of that study was the publication of one of her papers on Carver in the nationally circulated Philological Review, a juried literary journal published by the Arkansas Philological Association.
Ada Jack Carver Snell was born in Natchitoches in 1890. She married John B. Snell, in 1918 and moved to Minden. Born into an upper-middle-class Baptist family, Ada Jack Carver was raised in an atmosphere of distinction and ease in Natchitoches. The rich heritage and atmosphere of Louisiana’s oldest settlement filled her days as a youth. She would later remember these experiences with her colorful and descriptive writings of life in Louisiana.
Carver began to publish in 1915, but her most intense creative activity occurred in the mid-1920s with works published in Harper’s and several other well known publications of that era. There are numerous unresolved mysteries surrounding the relationship between her life and her work. Ada Jack Carver Snell died in December of 1972 and is buried at the Minden Cemetery by her husband and infant son.
Don’t miss your chance to hear about one of Minden’s most interesting past citizens. Event will be held at Christopher’s, 615 Main St., Minden, La. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first come, first serve seating. Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. For more information contact Schelley Brown at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com . You can also find the museum on Facebook.