The Pulitzer Prizes are to be announced today. Though Mt. Holly Cemetery touts that it is the site of a whole host of elected officials, it is also the only place in Arkansas where two Pulitzer Prize recipients are buried.
In 1939, John Gould Fletcher became the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He was born into a prominent Little Rock family in 1886. Fletcher was awarded the prize for his collection Selected Poems which was published by Farrar in 1938. Two years earlier, he had been commissioned by the Arkansas Gazette to compose an epic poem about the history of Arkansas in conjunction with the state’s centennial.
Fletcher is buried next to his wife, author Charlie May Simon and his parents. Other relatives are buried nearby in the cemetery.
The other Pulitzer Prize winner buried in Mt. Holly is J. N. Heiskell, the longtime editor of theArkansas Gazette. It was Heiskell, in fact, who asked Fletcher to compose the poem about Arkansas. Heiskell served as editor of the Gazette from 1902 through 1972. He died at the age of 100 in 1972.
Under his leadership, the Gazette earned two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High. One was for Harry Ashmore’s editorial writing and the other was for Public Service.
Heiskell remained in charge of the Gazette until his death in 1972. He is buried alongside his wife.