The Newsletter is based at the University of Southern California, with a link to the University of North Carolina and the Garland Society. The editor is Claude Zachary at the University of Southern California. Please e-mail your comments, suggestions,and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mailing address: Claude Zachary/USC/DML 220/Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189.
Garland Society MeetingThe Hamlin Garland Society will sponsor one session at the American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco, 25-28 May 2006, Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, at the the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The session will take place in room Pacific Concourse D on Friday, May 26, 2006, from 12:30pm – 1:50pm
Main-Travelled Roads RevisitedConference details may be found at the American Literature Association website.
Chair: Kurtis L. Meyer, Independent Scholar
- “Made Beautiful by Human Sympathy: Hamlin Garland’s Main-Travelled Roads,” Kelvin Beliele, University of New Mexico
- “The Agrarian Myth in Hamlin Garland’s ‘Up the Coule,’” Quentin Martin, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
- “Why Hamlin Garland Left the Main-Travelled Road,” Keith Newlin, University of North Carolina Wilmington
LAST YEAR'S A.L.A. GARLAND PANEL RECALLEDWith the 2006 American Literature Association Conference approaching, here is a reminder of last year's presentations in Boston.
Three papers were offered at the Hamlin Garland Society panel at the American Literature Association in Boston on May 28, 2005.
In "The Passing of the Pioneer: Hamlin Garland's'The Fireplace' and the Rise of the Small-Town Myth," Jeffrey C. Swenson (University of Iowa) noted that of the two versions of Main-Travelled Roads, the six-story version has been favored by critics such as Donald Pizer and Joseph McCullough. Swenson argued that the twelve-story version, often out of print, has been maligned for too long. Several stories in this version, among them "The Fireplace" and "Mrs. Ripley's Trip," significantly focus on the theme of the return to the small town.
Leslie Petty's "'Being a radical is like opening the door to the witches': Revolutionary Romance in Hamlin Garland's 'A Spoil of Office'" makes a case for Garland's early political work, arguing that Garland uses the conventions of heterosexual romance to write a "revolutionary romance." Following Caroline Levander's work on female speech and male listeners, Petty demonstrated that unlike the usual practice of listening to women's voices but not their words, Garldan's Bradley in A Spoil of Office listens seriously to the content of Ida's speeches; he has his consciousness raised and wishes to bring out serious social change.
Kurtis Meyer and Jon Morris's "Hamlin Garland, Iowa Nature Writer?" drew parallels between Garland and Thoreau. Like Thoreau, Garland found nature a source of renewal and liberation, and his compunctions about breaking the sod also show a "green" sensibility. Also like Thoreau, Garland was interested in accuracy and truthfulness, confirming even the seemingly unlikely image of seagulls on the prairie by stating, "I found them there."
Our thanks to Professor Donna Campbell (Washington State University), last year's moderator, for providing these notes.
Celebrating Garland Days in West SalemThe October 2004 issue of the West Salem (WI) Historical Society Newsletter offers a glimpse of the annual doings surrounding Hamlin Garland's birthday in his home town. For this year's "Garland Days," West Salem turned out for a village-wide rummage sale and a two-day silent auction. At the Garland Homestead, eighty persons signed in on Saturday (Sept. 11) with another 60 recorded on Sunday. Many visited the display of antique cars in the Garland backyard, and a cake (with a picture of Garland on it) was served with ice cream there on Sunday.
Inspirational highlights of the Garland Days were the talk by Wisconsin author and Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin Jerry Apps at the Homestead on Sunday afternoon, as well as presentations the previous day by the finalists in a successful poetry contest which had drawn nearly a hundred entries.
The Garlands Tonight!Garland's 144th birthday was celebrated in fine style at the Dacotah Prairie Museum in Aberdeen, South Dakota, on September 20th, 2004. Recalling Hamlin Garland's frequent appearances on stage with his daughter Mary Isabel in the early 1920s, two actors in period costume read from the author's writings in a program conceived and implemented by William "Gene" Aisenbrey, who directs the Garland Memorial Society in Aberdeen. Going back to handbills and other documentation of Garland's actual appearances in various Midwestern towns, the re-enactors, David and Virginia Newquist, read two poems and a short story by Garland and elaborated in the author's own words on his Indian lore and his homesteading experiences.
David and Virginia Newquist as Hamlin Garland and Mary Isabel Garland
In their modern lives, David Newquist is a retired professor of American literature, and Mrs. Newquist is associated with the field office of outgoing Senator Tom Daschle. Both have performed in other historical re-enactments in the area. An earlier performance of the Garland program was given in May of this year.
Photo by W.E.Aisenbrey
American Literature Association
2004 Annual ConferenceThe American Literature Association held its annual conference from May 27-30 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the Embarcadero in San Francisco. As in recent years, there was a Garland panel offering three presentations: Mark Buechsel from Baylor University spoke about Garland's impressionist techniques, with particular reference to the story "A Branch Road"; John Ahouse from the University of Southern California reviewed the editing challenges of Garland's The Fortunate Exiles, the author's unpublished late memoirs; and Keith Newlin from The University of North Carolina at Wilmington described the different versions of a short film with and about Hamlin Garland made as a documentary between 1936-38.
Garland Imagery in Iowa Display
On May 10, 2004, in Mitchell County, Iowa, where Garland spent his boyhood, Kurt Meyer presented a photographic essay and lecture, "The Power of Place" at St. Ansgar High School, "some six or seven miles from the Garland homestead," according to Meyer. The photographs, by Jon Morris of St. Paul, MN, depict rural landscapes of the region, captured in such a way as to suggest the atmosphere of Garland's day. In Meyer's presentation, they are paired with quotations from Garland's writing and were first displayed at the American Literature Association annual conference a year ago in Massachusetts. Local press in Mitchell County gave full and informed publicity to the event.
Kurt Meyer writes that 16 of his photos are currently displayed at Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) from November through mid-January.
A sampling of the Morris/Meyer work can be see on the Luther College website.
AUTHOR TO AUTHOR: "They ought to make a movie"In a rare clap on the shoulder between writers, Edward Alonzo Brininstool took the time in 1926 to write to Hamlin Garland in praise of the latter's story, "The Silent Eaters." Brininstool (1870-1957) was a noted and prolific writer on Western subjects, whose specialty was the Custer Massacre in all of its particulars. Garland's long-short story had appeared in 1923 as the concluding section of his The Book of the American Indian.
On letterhead of the National Custer Memorial Association, Brininstool wrote as follows:Los Angeles, Cal.(from the Hamlin Garland Collection, The University of Southern California)
April 24, 1926
Dear Mr. Garland:
I have again been reading -- for I do not know how many times -- your wonderful story of "The Silent Eaters" in your book The American Indian. I recall writing to you some time ago about it and asking if it was not possible to have this single story of the life of Sitting Bull made into a book by itself.
It is time the American people knew the real side of the Indian, and WHY and HOW he fought for his rights. I do not believe there is another story ever written which would so appeal to the reading public as this one of yours. And if the story could be worked out into a moving picture, just as you have related it -- why, it would be the biggest thing in films yet screened. Could this not be done? Why don't you take up the matter with some of the big companies like the Universal, Fox or Lasky outfits? Get some of them to read it. That story would melt the heart of anybody even though hard as flint. It would make the epic of the screen -- a story of the real Indian conditions which would get right down under everybody's skin -- a story of the real American.
There is one on the screen now called "The Vanishing American" from one of Zane Grey's books, somewhat on this line, but nothing to be compared to what could be brought out in your wonderful story. I think yours is the most pitiful, heart-rending and pathetic story I ever read anywhere. There is something about it for the white man to pause and reflect.
Are you going up to the Custer battlefield in June to the semi-centennial? If so, I hope to meet you there. I'd like to shake by the hand a man who can handle the English language as you can.
Once more -- do see if you can't get this story into a book by itself.
A Century-Old Message from Hamlin GarlandA metal chest, or "time capsule," sealed in 1901 on the campus of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, was recently opened after a hundred years.
Among the many letters, photographs, and other memorabilia from the first year of the Twentieth Century, was a nine-page conservation essay, "Mystery of the Mountains," by Hamlin Garland.
Thanks to Keith Newlin for calling this to our attention. You can learn about the Colorado Century Chest and its contents, and read the transcribed text (listed as Item 79) of Garland's essay here.
"What Hamlin Garland Can Tell Us about Outmigration"Lance Nixon, South Dakota State University Ag Information Editor, was the guest speaker at the 2003 Garland anniversary event on September 14 in Aberdeen, SD, held at the Dakotah-Prairie Museum.
Nixon holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from SDSU, a master of arts in English from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and was a Fulbright scholar to Finland in 1993-94. He has worked for daily newspapers in North and South Dakota for fifteen years. While writing for the Aberdeen American News, he published several Garland-related articles.
W. E. Aisenbrey, facilitator of the Hamlin Garland Memorial Society, reports on the talk as follows:Early on, Hamlin Garland was aware of "outmigration" as he himself joined this group in 1883, heading for Boston after an especially harsh winter in McPherson County. Circa 1930, South Dakota reached its peak in population, according to the speaker, when outgoing overtook incoming as far as migration was concerned. Lack of social amenities - opera, theater, large libraries - and harsh and lonely conditions on the prairie contributed to the reasons for outmigration. South Dakota is now recovering, but it is the urban areas that are realizing the gain; while the rural areas continue to wither away. School districts are consolidating to save their identities and maintain community education programs. In covering the rhymes and reasons for outmigration, the speaker quoted from four of Garland's books as well as from other Upper Midwest authors.
A discussion period preceded the cutting of the annual Garland birthday cake.
Mr. Aisenbrey also shares the following:Earlier in 2003, the South Dakota Public Broadcasting (PBS) put together a four part series of South Dakota History. In the first part of the series "Rails and Other Roads: South Dakota's Transportation," Garland was paraphrased in a voice-over: "An early South Dakota author said: 'I bought a ticket for Aberdeen, and entered the train crammed with movers who had found the 'prairie schooner' all too slow... Free land was receding at railroad speed...'". The writer paraphrased that particular paragraph found in Chapter XX, "The Land of the Dakotas", in _A Son of the Middle Border_.
I thought it quite a treat to see Garland being paraphrased in this present-day work. I don't know who the writer of that segment was, but they got it right.
His Artistic Daughter
From Previous Issues
Book of the American Indian Republished
Hamlin Garland Society
Website last updated on 03 May 2006