In this interview, Carol discusses her love of bibliography and the stories behind the creation of her two bibliographies.
You can view the entire interview here.
Check out some recent reviews of publications from Oak Knoll!
A massive, near definitive resource that goes places I have never traveled with any other bibliography. Grissom’s scholarship is breathtaking. Oak Knoll Press has touted it as ‘sure to be the definitive resource for Hemingway collectors, scholars and libraries for years to come,’ and I see no reason why it won’t.”– Craig Stark, BookThink
He has been scrupulous in identifying previous omissions and he has corrected the errors of earlier bibliographers. This exemplary study now stands as a solid foundation for future Hemingway scholarship. That it will soon be superseded is difficult to imagine. One last observation: while this title’s price may appear daunting, it has been my experience that making use of reference volume just once often justifies its purchase. I have my copy. Get yours.” –Ralph Sipper, ABAA
A remarkable collection that successfully combines scholarly articles, an exhibition catalogue, and a photographic essay within its covers. The images in the book reinforce the value of using material culture to understand the historical past, and they give life to the subjects discussed in the essays. Overall, this book is a “must have” for those interested in the educational, social, and cultural history of early America.”–Keith Pacholl, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Fitzgerald’s descriptions for each entry are extraordinarily detailed. The entries are models of technique for twentieth century books. The eight pages of color plates are especially welcome and help to capture some of the charm of the books themselves, many of which were attractively designed and printed. In short, Series Americana, exhaustively researched and painstakingly written, is an essential tool for all research libraries and will provide ample rewards for the librarian, the collector, and the student of American publishing history.”–Russell L. Martin III, SHARP News
It will, I am sure, become a collector’s item in its own right for it is a handsome volume, well printed in a pleasing font on cream-coloured paper with each entry well set out. The bibliographic content of each entry is meticulous and will be of great service to everyone whose research involves cookbooks. At the back are lists of bibliographical reference works, libraries, and background literature. Four indices, arranged under names, chronology, and geography, cover all the ways one might want to use the book.”–Malcolm Thick, Petits Propos Culinaires
This volume is unquestionably a valuable resource. The book is extremely well typeset and the use of a grey rule admirably breaks up descriptions. There are also thirteen full-page colour and two full-page black and white illustrations and a magnificent dust-jacket.” –Philip W. Errington, Book Collector
Carol Fitzgerald is the author of the Oak Knoll publication Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980, A Descriptive Bibliography. The book highlights thirteen series of American regional writing published between 1938 and 1980, focusing on various American landmarks including seaports, forts, trails, and folkways.
Now, Fitzgerald has donated her collection of books related to the thirteen series highlighted in Series Americana to the Library of Congress. Also including original correspondence, documentation, and copies of research materials, the collection will be housed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. This donation and collection represents the importance of preserving our nation’s history and culture.
Click here to read more about the donation, and click here to find out more about Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980, A Descriptive Bibliography. Carol Fitzgerald is also the author of Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography.
Earlier this week, author Carol Fitzgerald shared about the joy she experienced researching for The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography and Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980, A Descriptive Bibliography.
Series Americana provides a unique and compelling self-portrait of America, encompassing the American people, their history and culture, the nation’s mountains, plains, lakes, landmarks, and important American customs. Each book listed in Series Americana contains detailed descriptions of the collation, cover, contents, binding, and dust jacket, as well as thorough author biographies and notes one each title. Check out this excerpt describing the author and notes of Golden Gate Country by Gertrude Atherton.
Golden Gate Country
Gertrude Atherton, October 30, 1857- June 14, 1948
AF8 First edition, first printing (1945) 
Gertrude Horn Atherton was born in San Francisco, California, on October 30, 1857, the only child of Thomas Ludovich and Gertrude (Franklin) Horn. Horn was a New England businessman whose family had been in the shipping business there for some two hundred years. His wife, Gertrude, a descendant of Benjamin Franklin, had grown up on a Louisiana plantation.
Atherton’s parents were divorced when she was a young girl. She attended public and private schools in California, lived from time to time on her maternal grandfather’s San Jose ranch, and at age seventeen went to Lexington, Kentucky, to study at the Sayre Institute. After a year, she returned to California. In 1876, shortly after her return, young Gertrude eloped with George H. Bowen Atherton, then twenty-four. He was the son of a trader with business interests in California and Chile and a Chilean mother, Dominga de Goñi. The couple had two children, George Goñi, who died at age six, and Muriel Florence. In her mid-twenties, bored with her marriage and domestic life, Atherton began to write, employing various pen names. Around 1883, her first novel, The Randolphs of Redwoods, was serialized in the San Francisco Argonaut. The novel was based on a contemporary scandal involving a privileged young woman who succumbed to alcoholism. When it became known that Atherton was the author, she was ostracized by San Francisco society. The book was revised and published in England by John Lane, The BodleyHead, in 1899 as A Daughter of the Vine.
Atherton’s husband died in 1887, while he was on a business trip to Chile. She soon began a full-time literary career, and, in 1888, moved to New York. Her books, presenting liberated women and romantic melodrama, and her sexual candor, drew critical scorn for her work. She left New York in 1895, moving to England, where she was well received. She never remarried. In the 1930s, Atherton returned to California and soon became active in San Francisco society and civic organizations. In 1935, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature by Mills College. In 1937, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by the University of California, Berkeley. During more than sixty years as a writer, Atherton moved between the United States and Europe and between California and New York and New England,writing fifty-six books, thirty-four of them novels. In 1943, she became the first living author to donate manuscripts, correspondence, notes, and related papers to the Library of Congress. Gertrude Atherton died in San Francisco, California, on June 14, 1948, at age 90.
NOTES ON GOLDEN GATE COUNTRY
In a June 14, 1943, letter to Gertrude Atherton, C. Halliwell (“Charles”) Duell expressed his pleasure that she would be writing a book for The American Folkways Series, noting, “your contribution calls for the highest advance we have ever paid on one of these books.” Atherton signed an agreement with Duell, Sloan & Pearce on August 9 to write the book, then entitled “Northern California Country,” to be approximately seventy-five thousand words in length. The manuscript was due on or before January 1, 1944, but in a handwritten margin note on the agreement Atherton advised “earlier date possible.” She received an advance of $750 and was to receive a royalty of 14 percent on all copies of regular trade editions sold by the publisher in the United States at discounts of less than 48 percent from the catalog price. Shortly after the contract was signed, at her request the book’s title was changed to Golden Gate Country. She was well along with the manuscript by December 1943, and the publisher hoped to include the book in the Spring 1944 catalogue. Owing to a problem with her typewriter, she was unable to provide a carbon copy of the manuscript, leading Charles Duell to write in a February 28, 1944, letter, “When your manuscript comes we shall throw a cordon of police around it, as your warning of no carbon copy is quite a caution.”
The publisher received the manuscript in mid-April, but thought it needed considerable editing and should include additional material which would carry the book into the twentieth century. The manuscript was sent to Erskine Caldwell for his review. By mid-July 1944 the manuscript had been so heavily edited that it was necessary that it be retyped before it was sent to the printer. Atherton and Caldwell were to work out the final editing details, but in the retyping of the manuscript the final chapter and the final paragraphs of the preceding chapter were not retyped, being deemed by the publisher, and presumably by Caldwell, as an unsuitable climax. Charles Duell’s letter of October 19 explains, “We have two major points of criticism to make. The first is that the matters discussed in these sections will be too soon dated. The second point of criticism is that as a conclusion to your book the Redwoods, the Save-the-Redwoods League, and so on, receive attention out of all proportion to the interests ofthe general reader. It simply unbalances the book at a point where the over-all perspective is at its most important.” He suggested the deletion of the final chapter and the last paragraphs of the preceding chapter, ending the book with a separate paragraph, “San Francisco was thoroughly alive.” This was done, and those words end the text.
By March 20, sales had passed three thousand and by April 26 had reached five thousand three hundred. In a May 24 letter responding to Atherton’s concerns about the promotion of the book, Duell stated that the firm had made a special poster on Golden Gate Country which was sent “to all of the California stores at the time of publication,” but owing to wartime space rationing the San Francisco Chronicle was unable to accept an ad for the book until sometime in June.
The fourth printing of Golden Gate Country, in November 1945, was to contain several corrections requested by Atherton, but despite the best efforts of the publisher, the printer, American Book Stratford Press, failed to include them. By January 1946, the book had sold more than seven thousand copies.
Gertrude Atherton was eighty-seven when Golden Gate Country was published. In his review in The New York World-Telegram, Harry Hansen wrote,“How Erskine Caldwell came to ask her to do a book for his series of American Folkways I do not know, but obviously she was the logical candidate when he thought of San Francisco.”
Carol Fitzgerald, author of The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography and Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980, A Descriptive Bibliography, writes about the joy she experienced in researching and writing these titles.
Who knew? Who could possibly have foreseen that the casual purchase at the Miami Book Fair in 1986 of The St. Johns: A Parade of Diversities by A.J. Hanna and Branch Cabell, a fifteen-dollar volume in the Rivers of America series, would be the seminal moment – and the beginning for what would become two major collections of Series Americana. This purchase would result in my writing two, two-volume bibliographies, both published by Oak Knoll Press in association with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. It’s a story that changed my life and helped to preserve a body of mid-twentieth century Series Americana defining a period of American literature through its folkways, history, geography, and its publishers, editors, writers, and illustrators, that might otherwise have been fragmented and lost as a literary treasure.
Writing a book and having it published can be a satisfying experience, especially when working with a respected publisher like Oak Knoll Press in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. But it was my research for the writing of first, The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography and, later, Series Americana: Post-Depression Era Regional Literature that I will remember and treasure. In addition to bibliographical information, I included in each book biographies of the authors, illustrators, editors, and cartographers, creating a story of each book covered in the two bibliographies. The joy of discovering obscure facts about the books or the authors and illustrators helped me write human stories of the men and women who wrote, illustrated, and edited the books covered in my work.
The individual books described were the foundation, but it was the people – the talent – their excellence in their craft – that made the books a powerful part of the American literary scene in a time dominated by the Great Depression and three wars. My research led to correspondence with authors, illustrators, and sometimes their children and colleagues, and resulted in some extraordinary friendships that continue today. Of course, a good book is a good book, but behind even a good book there is a publisher, an author, an editor, and sometimes an illustrator or cartographer. Each plays an integral part in the success of the book, and, for me, a series of books. I wanted to tell the story of each in order to tell the story of the whole.
These thoughts pertain to more than twenty years of research and writing and the pleasures of seeing the publication of the two books that resulted. Oak Knoll Press and the Library of Congress had major roles in all this, and I extend my sincere thanks to all who worked with me in creating these two books.
Click here for more information on The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography and click here for more information on Series Americana: Post Depression-Era Regional Literature, 1938-1980, A Descriptive Bibliography.