Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Graceland Too

This week, we do a little rewind as Jennifer shares her take on one of the more… exceptional places we visited on NTSIB’s Great Southern Roadtrip of 2010.


Graceland Too, Holly Springs, MS

If I could return to any one town from NTSIB’s Southern voyage last summer, it would be Holly Springs, home to, among other things, Graceland Too. NTSIB stopped by Graceland Too the day after visiting Graceland itself. We happened to arrive at the same time as two ladies from a Tupelo paper, which is how I learned about the concepts of “Birth Week” and “Death Week”, two of the major annual events in Elvis country. In somewhat belated honor of what would have been Elvis’ 76th birthday this past Saturday, here are some pictures from the experience:


Elvis Presley trading cards

The collection of Elvisiana at Graceland Too is the hard work of one man: Paul McLeod. He’s been collecting since 1956, and basically, if it involves Elvis Presley in any way, shape or form, he’s probably got it in his house. He also has hundreds of binders of Elvis-related news clippings, and maintains three televisions devoted to recording mentions of Elvis in popular media.


Photographs of Elvis Presley

The amount of visual information present is actually overwhelming. We only spent a couple of hours there, but I could easily have spent several days absorbing it all. Unlike Graceland – both a rigorously curated time-capsule and a genteel, if glittery, G-rated memorial to someone who lived an R-rated life – Graceland Too embraces all of the chaos and highs and lows of Elvis’ pop-cultural (after)life, from Reese’s Pieces boxes and curtains and rugs with Elvis’ face on them to stuffed toys that sing Elvis songs.


Flowers and other items left at Elvis’ grave

Also, dear readers, I must tell you: I’m an archivist by day, and I was as entranced by the volume and diversity of McLeod’s collection as I was by his methods of organization and preservation. I was very glad to hear some of it had already gone to the Smithsonian.


A corner of two of the four walls covered in Elvis Presley records

In addition to the massive collection inside the house, McLeod is also engaged in outdoor projects. The house changes color now and again – it’s been pink in the past, it was blue and white when we arrived – and there is what I think is a very special Jailhouse Rock exhibit under construction in the backyard, complete with a startlingly realistic representation of an electric chair.

In conclusion, I give you a snapshot of one of the highlights of the visit: Mr. McLeod, singing an Elvis song in his kitchen:


— Jennifer

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