Faulkner Fingerprints

The Wynn-Faulkner collection at the University of Mississippi contains a unique archive of William Faulkner’s papers damaged in a fire in 1942. Among these are several drafts of RO_2_47_fingerprint-3_F_norm_r8g5b2_contrast_zoompreviously unknown poems damaged by charring and water. In 2011, we imaged the poetry of the collection, digitally restoring several works to full legibility. During imaging processing, we noticed fingerprints that became visible under UV light, spurring further research into using multispectral imaging to establish authenticity. In 2012, we imaged several Faulkner fingerprints taken from bullet casings in his home, Rowan Oak, and attempted to match these to ones on a poetry collection. Unfortunately, the thumbprints from the poetry were from the left hand while those from the bullet casing were from the right. We continue, however, to refine spectral imaging for forensic authentication of manuscripts and artwork.