Max Snyder bio
Max Aaron Snyder was born October 15, 1967, in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Mabel Agnes Snyder. The young mother was not married, and Max never knew his father. Mabel excelled in typing and office work, so after Max's birth, she found a job with Jones Realty and was later promoted to office manager.
When Mabel got pregnant, her older sister, Georgia, invited her to move in with her family so they could share expenses and childcare responsibilities. Georgia's sons were a year and two years old when Max was born, and the three boys grew up like brothers. Georgia was a died-in-the-wool Elvis Presley fan and played his music constantly while doing her housework and looking after the boys.
Max inherited his mother's work ethic and started delivering papers as soon as he was old enough so he could lighten his mother's financial burden. Instead, Mabel insisted he use the money for himself, and so when he was thirteen, Max went to the same hardware store where Gladys Presley got her son's first guitar, and Max bought his own guitar.
He dreamed of becoming the next Elvis but soon discovered much to his dismay that he had absolutely no musical talent. Max sold the guitar and resolved to just be one of Elvis' biggest fans. Max read everything about Elvis he could find, good and bad, and eventually became an Elvis expert.
Mabel made sure Max was always a good student. He wasn't the smartest kid in the class, but his grades were good enough for him to go to college—his mother's dream for him. He enrolled at the University of Mississippi and bought a second-hand car so he could visit his mother every weekend.
After graduating with an English degree, Max was hired as a teaching assistant at Ole Miss while he studied to get his MA in English specializing in American Literature. He stayed on at Ole Miss until he became a full professor, his current position.
In December 1992, Max met Lindsey Townsend at Uncle Buck's Records, where he had gone to buy a recording of Elvis Christmas music. She was browsing in the same area and when they discovered they had a mutual interest in all things Elvis, they had coffee and found they shared other interests. Eventually, they married and moved into a small house just south of the university.
Max and Lindsey attend Elvis fan conferences around the country and are regulars at the Elvis birthday celebrations and death commemorations in both Memphis and Tupelo.
As an academic, Max was eager to organize a conference that allowed scholars, music lovers, and Elvis fans to seriously study the impact the musician had on American culture. It took several years, but Max and Lindsey were able to get financial backing and scheduled the first of what they hope will become an annual conference for January 2019.
Observers say Max's reputation is riding on providing a serious consideration of Elvis's work and his influence in American culture while encouraging entertainment in the Elvis tradition.