April 7, 1997 60th Anniversary of "Rivers of America" Book Series Celebrated at the Library of Congress on April 9 and 10, 1997
Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
More than a dozen authors, illustrators and editors of the Rivers of America book series were honored at the Library of Congress on April 9 and 10.
"This remarkable series of 65 books, published from 1937 to 1974, emphasized good writing, regional and local history, and an intense and admirable concern for place and community," said Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, who organized the event. "We were fortunate that so many of the creators of the books could join us--along with leading Rivers of America collectors and book dealers from throughout the country." Mr. Cole paid special tribute to his symposium co-organizer, collector and bibliographer Carol Fitzgerald of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He also announced that the Center for the Book would publish a book based on discussions at the two-day event.
The Rivers of America book series was planned and started by Constance Lindsay Skinner (1877-1939)--author, historian of the American frontier, poet, and one of the first women to hold a major position in American adult book publishing. The books were published by Ferrar and Rinehart and its corporate successors: Rinehart & Company (1946- 1960) and Holt, Rinehart and Winston (1960-1974). The April 9-10 celebration was supported in part by a contribution to the Center for the Book from Henry Holt & Company, made "in memory of the major role played by Henry Holt in the genesis of the original series."
The program featured presentations and discussions with Rivers of America authors, illustrators and editors; music of the rivers performed by Alan Jabbour and Joe Hickerson of the Library's American Folklife Center; a panel discussion about the collecting and value of Rivers of America books; and observations about the importance and cultural significance of the book series.
John Cole also outlined a new, four-year Library of Congress Rivers of America educational project that was inspired by the book series. Aimed primarily at the general public, teachers, and students, the new Rivers of America project will use the cultural heritage of America's rivers to stimulate interest in reading, literacy, history, and the environment. Organized and funded by the Center for the Book, it will conclude in 2000, the year of the Library's 200th birthday, and be part of the Library's bicentennial celebration. Other Library of Congress offices will cooperate in the project, as well as with organizations outside the Library of Congress.
For information about the Center for the Book and its projects, contact the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540- 4920, (202) 707-5221 (phone), (202) 707-0269 (fax), or visit the Center's web site at: http://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/.