January 21, 2010 Center for the Book Co-Publishes Major New Reference Work on Regional Americana
Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217 | Oak Knoll Press (800) 996-2556
American regional writing gained increasing popularity in the years following the Great Depression and beyond. The period 1938 to 1980 was an especially fruitful one for this type of documentation of the nation's people, their history and culture, and America's natural treasures -- its mountains, plains and lakes, as well as its seaports, forts, trails, folkways and customs.
"Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980: A Descriptive Bibliography" by Carol Fitzgerald has just been published by Oak Knoll Press and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
In this illustrated and authoritative two-volume work, bibliographer and collector Fitzgerald presents full descriptions and publishing histories of 163 titles published during 1938-1980 in 13 popular book series, such as American Folkways, The American Lakes Series, The American Trails Series and Regions of America. She also includes historical sketches of the series' publishers, as well as biographies of the 19 editors and the 237 writers who contributed to the various series.
Erskine Caldwell, A.B. Guthrie Jr., Henry G. Alsburg and Carl Carmer are among the 19 distinguished editors. The 237 authors of individual volumes include noted writers such as Cleveland Amory, Gertrude Atherton, Bruce Catton, Thomas D. Clark, Richard H. Dillon, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, John Dos Passos, Erle Stanley Gardner, Josephine Herbst, Stetson Kennedy, David Lavender, Meridel Le Sueur, Oscar Lewis, Mari Sandoz, Irving Stone and Wallace Stegner.
In 2001, the Center for the Book and Oak Knoll Press published another major work by Fitzgerald, "The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography." Fitzgerald refers to this volume in her preface to "Series Americana" -- "While I was collecting books in the 'Rivers of America' series, I learned of other 'series America,' often because they included books by authors who had also written for the 'Rivers' series. Over the years, I have concentrated on 13 series that I believe provide a valuable, credible, self-portrait of America's people, culture, history and geographic regions. These 13 series and their publishing histories, authors, editors and illustrators are the subject of this book."
To mark the Center for the Book's 25th anniversary in 2003, Fitzgerald and her husband and editor, Jean Fitzgerald, donated their "Rivers of America" archives to the Library of Congress. Today the collection -- comprising more than 400 first editions and related correspondence, audio and video archives, and original art -- is available to the public in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division.
"Series Americana: Post-Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980" is available for $125 for Volumes I and II from Oak Knoll Press, 310 Delaware St., New Castle, DE 19720; (800) 996-2556; fax (302) 328-7274. It may also be ordered online at www.www.oakknoll.com External (search "Series Americana").
The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 "to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries." In addition to many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, the center has published or co-published more than 50 books and 60 pamphlets and booklets as part of its mission. It also oversees the Library's new Read.gov website, with its exclusive "Exquisite Corpse Adventure" serialized story and, with the Children's Book Council, has just named a new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Katherine Paterson (www.read.gov/cfb/ambassador/).