Skip to main content

Faulk, John Henry



Folklorist, humorist, lecturer, and civil rights activist John Henry Faulk (1913-1990) was born to parents Henry and Martha (Miner) in Austin, Texas. A protégé of J. Frank Dobie, Walter Prescott Webb, and Roy Bedichek, Faulk graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he later taught English. For his master's thesis, he analyzed ten African American sermons, and his research greatly impacted his thinking on civil liberties. Aided by his friend and fellow folklorist Alan Lomax, Faulk entered the entertainment industry in 1946, hosting various radio shows for WCBS in New York City. In 1957, the right-wing organization AWARE, Inc., blacklisted Faulk for alleged communist associations and sympathies. Subsequently, he filed and won a libel suit against the company and anti-communist activists Vincent Hartnett and Laurence A. Johnson. In 1963, Faulk published a memoir of his blacklisting experience entitled Fear on Trial, which in 1975 CBS dramatized, starring William Devane as Faulk and George C. Scott as his attorney Louis Nizer. Despite being vindicated by the jury, Faulk was unable to gain meaningful employment in the entertainment industry until 1975, when he joined the cast of Hee-Haw. He wrote and produced two one-man plays, Deep in the Heart (1986) and Pear Orchard, Texas (1988), to highlight humanity's best and worst traits.

Beginning in the 1970s, Faulk lectured extensively about civil liberties on college and university campuses. Campaigning on his passion for the U.S. Constitution, the environment, and the common man, he unsuccessfully ran against Phil Gramm for a U.S. House of Representatives in Texas in 1983. Faulk married his former student Harriet Hally Wood in 1940. The couple had one daughter, Cynthia, before divorcing. In 1948, he married Lynne Smith, with whom he had three children: Evelyn, Johanna, and Frank Dobie. After divorcing Lynne, Faulk married Elizabeth Liz Peake in 1965 and they had one child, John Henry Johan III. He was close friends with Austin television and radio broadcaster, Richard Cactus Pryor, and was a mentor to journalist and activist, Molly Ivins. Faulk died of cancer in 1990.


Foshee, Page S. Faulk, John Henry. Handbook of Texas Online.

Found in 17 Collections and/or Records:

Roy Bedichek papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00011

Roy Bedichek (1878-1959) was a naturalist, educator, writer, and director of the University (of Texas) Interscholastic League from 1914-1948. The Roy Bedichek Papers, 1897-1959, 2003, document his studies of ornithology, botany, wildlife, and conservation, history and philosophy and include literary productions, correspondence, and business records.

Dates: circa 1880-1960; 2003

Warren Bower recordings

Identifier: camh-arc-004300

The Warren Bower Recordings, circa 1960, are comprised of four sound reels featuring writer Benjalyn Ater interviewing professor Warren Bower and Bower interviewing storyteller John Henry Faulk.

Dates: 1960

Michael C. Burton papers

Identifier: camh-arc-004211

The Michael C. Burton papers, 1946-1997, consist of galley proofs, research files, photographs, and publicity materials related to Burton’s book John Henry Faulk: The Making of a Liberated Mind.

Dates: 1946 - 1997

Shudde and Conrad Fath papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.03939

The Shudde and Conrad Fath papers consist of first hand accounts, articles and clippings relating to Creekmore Fath’s career, including his work for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. The collection also includes legal documents, correspondence between Shudde Fath and Ann Richards, oral history interviews and papers relating to John Henry Faulk.

Dates: 1902 - 1909; 1943 - 2014

John Henry Faulk oral history collection

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.03794

The John Henry Faulk Oral History Collection, 1990, contains oral history interviews of family and friends of John Henry Faulk conducted by Barbara S. Griffith and Sheree Scarborough for the Center for American History (now the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History) in 1990.

Dates: 1990

John Henry Faulk papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00010

The John Henry Faulk Papers, 1881, 1936-2010, document Faulk's career in literary and broadcast media, as well as his activities in politics, humanitarian concerns, and civil liberties, particularly his successful libel suit after having been blacklisted for alleged Communist associations.

Dates: 1881; 1936 - 2010

John Henry Faulk photographs

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.02010

Collection consists of images of John Henry Faulk speaking to a class at Iowa State University in 1987.

Dates: 1987

John Henry Faulk vs. AWARE, Inc., Laurence A. Johnson, and Vincent Hartnett case records

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01497
Abstract The John Henry Faulk vs. AWARE, Inc., Laurence A Johnson and Vincent Hartnett Case Records documents the landmark libel suit involving Faulk (b. 1913), a radio and television personality in the 1950s, and an anticommunist organization that blacklisted entertainment personalities for allegedly subversive views. Collection, donated by Faulk's attorney Louis Nizer, consists of materials created by Faulk's attorneys, court records, trial transcripts,...
Dates: 1939 - 1982

Molly Ivins papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00293

Correspondence, literary productions, newspaper clippings, legal documents, photographs, audiovisual productions, notes, research materials and posters document Molly Ivins' journalistic career and personal life.

Dates: 1922 - 2013

John Matthias Kuehne photograph collection

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00618

John Matthias Kuehne photograph collection, 1894-1950, includes many images of the University of Texas campus, Austin, and Central Texas. Among his autochromes are perhaps the earliest color views of UT.

Dates: 1894 - 1950

Additional filters:

Texas 9
Texas--Austin 8
United States 8
Blacklisting of entertainers 4
New York (State)--New York 3
∨ more
Politics and government 3
Radio broadcasting 3
Anti-communist movements 2
Antinuclear movement 2
Canada 2
Children 2
Colorado 2
Communism 2
Education, Higher 2
Mexico 2
New Mexico 2
Oral histories (document genre) 2
Petroleum industry and trade 2
Photographs 2
Politicians 2
Politics and government--Humor 2
Radio broadcasting--Archival resources 2
Texas--Dallas 2
Texas--New Braunfels 2
Wit and humor 2
Abortion--Government policy--Citizen participation 1
Aeronautics 1
African Americans--Social life and customs 1
Airlines 1
Anthropology 1
Architecture 1
Arizona 1
Arizona--Flagstaff 1
Arizona--Painted Desert 1
Arkansas 1
Arkansas--Smackover 1
Armed Forces--Gays 1
Art 1
Athletic clubs 1
Athletics 1
Banks and banking 1
Bird watching 1
Bluebonnets (Lupines) 1
Boards of trade 1
Botany 1
Broadcast journalism 1
Bull Creek 1
Caddo-Pine Island Oil Field 1
California 1
California--Santa Barbara 1
Carpentry 1
Carriages and carts 1
China 1
China--Shanghai 1
Church 1
Church buildings 1
Circus 1
Cityscapes 1
Civil rights 1
Colorado--Boulder 1
Colorado--Pikes Peak 1
Cotton 1
Cowboys 1
Documentary film 1
East Texas Oil Field 1
Education 1
Elections 1
Entertainers 1
Environmental protection 1
Fairs 1
Fishing 1
Folk songs 1
Folklore 1
Freedom of speech 1
Freedom of the press 1
Gardens 1
Germans 1
Germany 1
Germany--Berlin 1
Greek letter societies 1
Gun control 1
Hawaii 1
Historic buildings 1
Housing 1
Illinois 1
Illinois--Chicago 1
Interior decoration 1
Interviews 1
Iraq War (2003-2011) 1
Italy 1
Japan 1
Journalism 1
Korean War (1950-1953) 1
Law 1
Liberalism 1
Liberty 1
Literature (general genre) 1
Livestock exhibitions 1
Louisiana 1
Louisiana--Shreveport 1
+ ∧ less