The Voice of Small-Town America: The Selected Writings of Robert Quillen, 1920-1948

The Voice of Small-Town America: The Selected Writings of Robert Quillen, 1920-1948

by John Hammond Moore
     
 

Deemed "the Sage of Fountain Inn" by Alexander Woollcott, newspaper publisher and editor Robert Quillen (1887-1948) used the forum of the Fountain Inn Tribune to bring his anecdotes and opinions from small-town upstate South Carolina to an international audience. The Mark Twain or Garrison Keillor of his day, Quillen developed a reputation as an authentic voice of… See more details below

Overview

Deemed "the Sage of Fountain Inn" by Alexander Woollcott, newspaper publisher and editor Robert Quillen (1887-1948) used the forum of the Fountain Inn Tribune to bring his anecdotes and opinions from small-town upstate South Carolina to an international audience. The Mark Twain or Garrison Keillor of his day, Quillen developed a reputation as an authentic voice of small-town life, and his words were reprinted in Collier's, the Saturday Evening Post, Literary Digest, and other publications. At the height of his syndication, Quillen's writings could be found in more than four hundred newspapers in North America and Europe with a combined circulation above twelve million. Edited by historian John Hammond Moore, the essays, editorials, one-liners, fables, and random comments collected in this volume return to print Quillen's wit and insights after a decades-long hiatus.

A native of Kansas, Quillen became a converted Southerner over time, and his conservative opinions-especially concerning national politics, Depression-era reforms, and the war effort-reflect those circumstances. Presented in chronological order, the previously published and unpublished pieces collected in this volume include Quillen's rants against noisy neighbors, barking dogs, cats, birds, litter, bootleggers, lynching, sordid county politics, and the encroachment of the federal government. Here, too, are his most famous hometown characters, Willie Willis and Aunt Het, as well as "Letters to Louise," his comic public messages to his teenage daughter that proved wildly popular with everyone but the addressee.

In addition to Quillen's pieces, Moore also provides a brief biography and overview of his subject'scareer and literary aspirations beyond the venue of newsprint. Twelve photographs and drawings add a visual element to the collection.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal

Quillen (A Plantation Mistress on the Eve of the Civil War ), former publisher of the South Carolina newspaper Fountain Inn Tribute , celebrates small-town America in this chronological collection of his folksy, witty, and wisecracking news stories and editorials, once syndicated in more than 400 newspapers worldwide. Edited by Moore (Carnival of Blood ), the collection reveals the quirks and idiosyncrasies of humankind-especially of Quillen's family, friends, and neighbors-commenting on matters ranging from the quality of the pastor's Sunday sermon to the cost of groceries. Many entries are public, sentimental letters of advice to Quillen's adopted daughter, Louise. Some contain remarks on liquor, race, and religion that show the nature of works published in the first half of the 20th century. Illustrations include editorial cartoons and photographs. Compiled from the files of the University of South Carolina Library and featuring some pieces never before published, this anthology is recommended for humor or journalism collections at larger public libraries and for readers who want to re/visit the journalism styles of times gone by.-Joyce Sparrow, Juvenile Welfare Bd., Children's Svcs. Council, Pinellas Cty., FL

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570037108
Publisher:
University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
12/28/2007
Pages:
321
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

Jr. A. V. Huff
"In The Voice of Small-Town America John Hammond Moore has made available to readers a rich compilation of the writings of Robert Quillen. Once again the 'sage of Fountain Inn' speaks in all the freshness and candor that he brought for three decades not only to the South Carolina upstate but to the entire nation. In addition, Moore has provided an insightful context for Quillen's work in his introduction and chapter notes. Today's readers will be as intrigued as Quillen's original audience by the frank assessment of life in a small town in the twentieth century."--(A. V. Huff, Jr., professor emeritus of history, Furman University)
George Singleton
"Robert Quillen's tongue was planted so deeply in his cheek that I doubt he could speak clearly. The Voice of Small-Town America is satire, sarcasm, and uncommonly rational observation in its highest form. Someone needs to pick up where Quillen left off. This book is flat-out fun, and proves that the head-scratching perplexities of 1920-1948 haven't been eradicated."--(George Singleton, author of Work Shirts for Madmen)

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