Oxford historian Jack Mayfield honored for years of work with Visit Oxford

Published 9:10 am Friday, August 17, 2018

After 10 years of informing others about Oxford and the University of Mississippi, Jack Mayfield has retired.

The longtime tour guide for Visit Oxford was honored with a reception on Thursday, with the turret room in the Visit Oxford office named in his honor.

“Jack has been our go-to. He’s been our historian, our tour guide and he has a wealth of knowledge about this city and the University,” Visit Oxford director Mary Allyn Hedges said. “He just has a really great way of telling stories and sharing the history of Oxford. …It was really important to us to honor him in some way, and we thought the turret room would be perfect. This is where he sat before every tour.”

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Mayfield, 71, has retired from giving tours due to his health.

“I’ve had a lot of fun,” Mayfield said. “When people come to Oxford, I love telling them something about how it was years ago.”

For 12 years, Mayfield contributed a column, “A Sense of Place,” to the EAGLE that focused on the history of Oxford, Ole Miss and Lafayette County. Those columns, which Mayfield stopped writing due to an illness, are archived by the Lafayette County Historical and Genealogical Society.  Bound volumes of the columns can be purchased from the society.

When asked if Mayfield had a favorite historical account or a favorite spot to show visitors on his guided tours, Mayfield said it was all interesting.

“I liked everything,” Mayfield said. “Though most people were interested in (William) Faulkner. I did tours for the Faulkner Conference every year, and I did a tour of homes that Faulkner used in his books and different things like that. And I got a lot of good feedback from those tours.”

Though Mayfield will no longer give tours, Visit Oxford has taken lots of notes and recordings of the historian speaking about the community, Hedges said.

“With all of his knowledge, he’s really been able to pass down the history of Oxford for generations to come,” Hedges said. “He is irreplaceable to us, and there is a big void to fill, but we have a great new pool of tour guides. Jack has sat down and shared all of his knowledge with them so they can share it with others and continue the story that Jack has told.”