We at The Walker Percy Center are saddened to hear of the death of Bertram Wyatt-Brown. He died at the age of 80 of pulmonary fibrosis on November 5, 2012. His is survived by his wife of 50 years, Anne, along with a daughter, Natalie Ingraham Wyatt-Brown of St. Paul, Minn.
As it turned out, Bertram Wyatt-Brown and his wife could not make it to the Walker Percy Center's first conference in October of 2011, but he had picked out a topic in case they could: "The Percy Sense of Humor: Will and Walker." We appreciated the warm support he expressed for the WPC and regret not having had the opportunity to meet him and his wife Anne.
Historian David Herbert Donald once noted that Wyatt-Brown "has studied Southerners much as an anthropologist would an aboriginal tribe."
Among the books Bertram Wyatt-Brown wrote are these two on the Percy family:
The House of Percy: Honor, Melancholy, and Imagination in a Southern Family: "In The House of Percy, Bertram Wyatt-Brown, a leading scholar of the South, skillfully combines intensive research and telling insights to produce the unforgettable story of this gifted family. The history begins with their first prominent ancestor, Don Carlos Percy, an eighteenth-century soldier of fortune who amassed a large estate only to fall victim to mental disorder and suicide, and concludes with poet and war hero Will Percy who shared his home with Walker and his brothers after the suicidal death of their father and their mother's drowning. In between, the author recovers the tragic lives and literary achievements of several Percy-related women, and chronicles the fiery life of Senator LeRoy Percy who defied the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Throughout his biography of this powerful dynasty, Wyatt-Brown draws out the twin themes of an inherited inclination to despondency and an abiding sense of honor." (from Abebooks)
The Literary Percys: Family History, Gender, and the Southern Imagination: "The Percys, one of the most distinguished families in the South, are notable not only for their prominence in the political and economic development of the Mississippi Delta but also for their literary creativity. In The Literary Percys, noted historian Bertram Wyatt-Brown examines the role of gender and family history in the writings of this exceptional lineage." (from Abebooks)