Eudora Alice Welty (April 13, 1909 – July 23, 2001) was an award-winning American author who wrote short stories and novels about the American South. Her book The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among numerous awards. She was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of America. Her house in Jackson, Mississippi was designated a National Historic Landmark and opened to the public as a museum.
Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi, to Chestina and Christian Welty, schoolteacher and insurance executive, respectively. She had two brothers, Edward and Walter. She lived most of her life in the city's Belhaven neighborhood, in the house her parents built in 1925. She donated her home to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in honor of her parents. It has been preserved as a museum after having been designated a National Historic Landmark.
She was educated at the Mississippi State College for Women (now called Mississippi University for Women), and also left the South, studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Columbia Business School. While at Columbia University, where she was the captain of the women's polo team, Welty was a regular at Romany Marie's café in 1930. She also had opportunities to travel with her father on business, so had experiences beyond Jackson. Her work was rooted in her sense of place, of Mississippi and its peoples.