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

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 ...
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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 Presented in chronological order, the previously published and unpublished pieces collected in this volume include Quillen's rants against noisy neighbors, barking dogs, cats, birds, litter, bootleggers, lynching, sordid county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

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.
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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)

Meet the Author

John Hammond Moore is a veteran journalist and historian with more than twenty books to his credit, including A Plantation Mistress on the Eve of the Civil War: The Diary of Keziah Goodwyn Hopkins Brevard, 1860-1861 and Carnival of Blood: Dueling, Lynching, and Murder in South Carolina, 1880-1920. Moore resides in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     viii
Preface     ix
Introduction     xi
1925: Wives, Gals, and Mother Eve     1
1926: "You Can't Trust Spring"     14
1928: "As an Uplifter and Reformer, I Am a Dud"     21
1929: "The Bride Is a Skinny, Fast Little Idiot"     73
1930: The Tragic Death of Jack DuPre     87
1931: "The Tribune Is Merely a Private Hobby"     126
1932: Jenkins the Bolshevist, "Cotton Ed," and FDR     169
1933: "Nobody Is Making Money"     218
1934: "Ye Cannot Love Both Birds and Cats"     249
1935: How Rabbits Became Weak Little Runts     279
1936- 1946: Dealing with Change     293
1947: "The Missus Runs the Whole Shebang"     295
1948: "Louise, Your Dad Was a Good Man"     309
Index     319
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