Literary Musings

10 Fascinating Facts About Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998) was an American writer and environmentalist who famously fought to protect the Florida Everglades, and also used her talents to advocate for women’s rights and racial justice in Miami and beyond. Here you’ll discover 10 fascinating facts about Marjory Stoneman Douglas, whose multifaceted accomplishments shouldn’t be forgotten.

Marjory’s long life was full of adventure, heartbreak, loss, discovery, and – ultimately – impact on the health and preservation of the wetlands critical to South Florida’s survival. This unconventional woman helped shape the future of South Florida at a time when Miami was barely more than a frontier town and the “swamp” to the west of it was considered there for the taking by developers, speculators, and agricultural industrialists.

Marjory’s most notable work, The Everglades: River of Grass (1947), startled readers into an awareness of the beautiful and fragile intricacies of that wetlands’ ecosystem and warned of the dangers of not taking action to protect the Everglades in its “eleventh hour.” Read More→

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When the Present Clashes with the Past: Reminiscences of Enid Blyton

Quite often in life, the innocence and idealism of one’s childhood years are intruded upon by the realities and pragmatism of adult life. But when one is forced to reckon with the labeling of a favorite author of one’s childhood, one will necessarily need to have a dialogue with the past to find a balance with the present. The author in question is Enid Blyton, who was called “a racist, sexist homophobe and not a well-regarded writer,” by the members of the Royal Mint, who in 2019 blocked attempts to give her a commemorative coin.

Recently, the issue resurfaced when the UK-based charity, English Heritage, in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement, decided to update its website with information on Enid Blyton. Their Twitter account stated: Read More→

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21 Fascinating Facts about Rachel Field, Novelist, Poet, & Illustrator

Rachel Field (1894 – 1942) was an astonishingly prolific playwright, poet, children’s writer, novelist, and illustrator. I knew almost nothing about her before I moved into her old house on an island in Maine, but now I know better. Here is a selection of fascinating facts about Rachel Field, a talented and prolific author who deserves to be rediscovered and read. (photo at right, Beineke Library,  Yale)

Due to the tragedies that reverberated from her sudden death and the subsequent hardships of her bereaved family, Rachel’s work and her famous bright spirit faded prematurely from the national literary scene. Fortunately, the first biography of Rachel Field arrived in 2021 to celebrate the woman and her writing. Read More→

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Caresse Crosby, Patron of the Literary Lost Generation

Caresse Crosby (born Mary Phelps Jacob; April 20, 1892 – January 24, 1970) was known as a patron to the Lost Generation and other expatriate writers in Paris of the late 1920s. With her second husband, Harry Crosby, she founded Black Sun Press, publishing early works of writers who would have a lasting impact.

And in an offbeat yet impactful turn of events, in 1914, Crosby became the first person to receive a patent for the modern bra in 1914. The following appreciation of Crosby’s Paris years is excerpted from Everybody I Can Think of Ever: Meetings That Made the Avant-Garde by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission. Read More→

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The Literary Friendship of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings & Zora Neale Hurston

This musing on the friendship of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Zora Neale Hurston, two complex literary personalities, is excerpted and adapted from The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Author of “The Yearling,” © 2021 by Ann McCutchan. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

In the summer of 1942, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was invited to speak at historically Black Florida Memorial College in St. Augustine. One of the instructors that term was Zora Neale Hurston. At the time, Zora was completing her memoir, Dust Tracks on a Road, covering her childhood in Eatonville, Florida’s first all-black incorporated city. Read More→

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