Saturday, December 4, 2021

John Cofield's Oxford and Ole Miss: Leonard and Isabelle Levy

Standing with Kaye Bryant at the Thacker Mountain event at Southside when Milly West told me she had taken this shot and offered it for publishing, I was over-the-top delighted – not for myself, but for Oxford’s pictorial history. Later, Richard Howorth had the book PDF for about two hours before he emailed us to say the Levy pages alone were worth the price of admission to my Oxford memory-lane ride. I am proud to have been able to honor Leonard and Isabel and the universal memory they left us that was captured by Milly. Here is the writing from that page.
“And while, no, he wasn’t a young man anymore, Leonard Levy wasn’t finished yet. He had a final chapter to write and he unselfishly, unknowingly, penned it on the hearts of many an Oxonian and Ole Miss student. It was a sight warmly beheld. For years, into his 80s, when it didn’t rain and it wasn’t too cold, Mr. Levy walked into Golden Years Nursing Home, past men ten years younger, got his wife and steered her wheelchair out the door, down the ramp, onto the Van Buren sidewalk, and into the town’s heart. It was a show, an example to follow, of how true love finishes. As the two white-haired grocers eased at a slow roll down one of the town’s old tree-lined stretches, grown men could do little more than tighten their lips and give a slow nod, while Ole Miss sorority girls could do nothing but cry. It is an Oxford-only memory that is entirely universal in its appeal, say all who ever saw it.”
“Oxford, Mississippi, the Cofield Collection” is available at Square Books on the Square in Oxford and online at

John Cofield is a writer and one of Oxford’s leading folk historians. He is the son of renowned university photographer, Jack Cofield. His grandfather, J.R. “Colonel” Cofield, was William Faulkner’s personal photographer and for decades was the Ole Miss yearbook photographer. Cofield attended Ole Miss as well.
Check out Cofield’s new book: Oxford, Mississippi ~ The Cofield Collection — a pictorial history book with John’s writing on the history to go along with the photos.
Contact John at