Harry Stillwell Edwards Collection
Call Number: MS-51
Name: An Inventory of the Papers and Books of the Harry Stillwell Edwards Collection, held in the Valdosta State University Archives.
Size: 1 box; 31 items
Author and journalist Harry Stillwell Edwards was born in Macon, Georgia. As a boy he sold newspapers on the streets of the city. His formal education was cut short by the Civil War, but he read extensively in the Library of Congress while working as a clerk in the U. S. Treasury. He returned home to Macon in 1874, studied law at Mercer University, and was admitted to the bar, but never actively practiced due to his passion for writing. His first short story, “Elder Brown's Backslide,” appeared in Harper's Monthly in 1886. It was a humorous story of a man going to the “big city” of Macon and falling off the wagon after over 20 years of sobriety. Numerous other stories followed. These stories were eventually collected, bound, and published in book form. His first novel, Sons and Fathers, was written in 1895. Another, Marbeau Cousins, was published soon afterwards. Both of these novels were mysteries and popular for their time. Meanwhile, Edwards had become owner and editor of the Macon Telegraph, where he wrote a regular column entitled “What Comes Down My Creek.” This column was very popular and he continued writing it for the rest of his life. Edwards' most popular work was a story entitled “Eneas Africanus,” which first appeared in the Macon Evening News, of which he was also part owner and co-editor. Eneas’ great journey throughout the south was later published as a book and has sold over three million copies. The minting of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar to pay for the cost of the memorial is mainly attributed to Edwards. Due to his hard work and determination the people of the United States can enjoy the monument today. He died in Macon, Georgia on October 22, 1938. His rustic home, Kingfisher Cabin, built in 1928 at Holly Bluff was relocated to the grounds of Wesleyan College in 1941. In 1964, the cabin was restored and moved to the grounds of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon. It was restored again in 2006 by the museum for its 50th year anniversary celebration.(1)
Scope and Content:
The Harry Stillwell Edwards collection deals primarily with his projects and literary works. The literary works consist of 19 books on-shelf and one in-box. The books and stories all display similar themes: a simple southerner, the rustic south, and typically a humorous misunderstanding. However the collection also contains several newspaper articles, biographical content, and documentation of his involvement with the creation and minting of the Stone Mountain half dollar.
The story that is contained in the box is entitled The Tenth Generation. It is the story of a man looking for a way to satisfy the financial needs of his descendant 10 generations removed. Like most of his works, it was published by the J. W. Burke Company of Macon, Georgia in 1928. The on-shelf collection begins with The Adventures of a Parrot (Burke, c1920) which features one of Edwards’ interesting and reoccurring characters, Isam. The Answer (Burke, 19--) is a tale of a poor Irishman who finds a Hebrew savior. The Blue Hen’s Chicken (Burke 1927) is the story of a convict who tells his story of conviction and escape to the governor. Eneas Africanus (Burke1920, 1954 - two copies) documents the journey of Eneas Tommey. Eneas, a former slave of George E. Tommey, displays his faithfulness after being sent throughout the south in search of “Tommeysville,” only to return home many years later with a family, a champion race horse, and George Tommey’s family treasures. Eneas Africanus, Defendant (Burke, 1920) again features Eneas. In this story, Eneas is on trail at his church for making his wife work on Sunday. His Defense: and Other Stories (The Century Company, 1899) contains several short stories: “His Defense”, “William Marsdale’s Awakening,” “Isam and the Major,” “The Hard Trigger,” “Mas’ Craffud’s Freedom,” “The Woodhaven Goat,” “Captain Isam,” “The Gum Swamp Debate,” and “Charley and the Possum.” How Sal Came Though (Burke, 1920) is the story of the unfaithfulness of Sal’s fiancé Alec. Isam’s Spectacles (Burke, 1920) is another of Isam’s tales. Sons and Fathers (1937, Brown Publishing Company - 2 copies) is a mystery novel. One copy is signed by the author. Two Runaways and Other Stories (Century,1900,1922 - two copies) contains several short stories: “Two Runaways,” “Elder Brown’s Backslide,” “An Idyl of Sinkin’ Mount’in,” “Ole Miss and Sweetheart,” “Sister Todhunter’s Heart,” “De Valley an’ de Shadder,” “Minc,” “A Plot,” “A Boy Inventor,” and “Tom’s Strategy”. “The Woodhaven Goat” (1943) is another funny story of Isam, who confronts a swarm of bees. Other short stories on collection are: Just Sweethearts (1920), Little Legends of the Land (1930), Madelon Passes, and Mam’selle Delphine; A story of Christmas (1921, 1922). Edwards’ novel, Marbeau Cousins (1897), and poem, On the Mount (1918), are also included. Also included is a bound program from a memorial dinner celebrating the life of Harry Stillwell Edwards dated April 22, 1935.
Newspaper Articles and letters:
One of the Articles contain information on the value of a 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar (circulated and uncirculated) from 5/9/1982. The other article tells of a celebration of Edwards’ 111th birthday at King Fisher Cabin, which has been relocated to Wesleyan College (April 1966). Also included is a note stating that an article on Kingfisher Cabin has been relocated to mapcase W6-MC-05-5 and a letter from Raymond A. Cook of VSC, dated 11/29/1967, thanking Mrs. A. J. Strickland for donating her collection.
There are two brief biographies in the box. One is typed and the other is a computer printout. The typewriter print details how VSC obtained the collection and the computer printout includes a list of poems, stories, and writings.
Stone Mountain Half Dollar:
There is a computer printout of the history of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar. The coin is contained in a plastic sheath for protection and observation. There is a copy of a letter written by Edwards to Mr. Randolph explaining his involvement with the coin.
Edwards, Harry Stillwell
Department of the Treasury
Mrs. A. J. Strickland
King Fisher Cabin
The collection includes the following parts:
Box 1: Collection
[Folder 1] Harry Stillwell Edwards Collection—Short Story 1 (1928)
[Folder 2] Harry Stillwell Edwards Collection—Biographies 2 (undated)
[Folder 3] Harry Stillwell Edwards Collection—Correspondence 2 (11/29/1967)
[Folder 4] Harry Stillwell Edwards Collection—Stone Mountain 4 (1925-1982)
[Folder 5] Harry Stillwell Edwards Collection—Literary Works 22 (1897-1966)
Processing Date: Processed by John Womble