Thanks to Anna Evenson and Jill Stewart, there’s a treasure trove of photographs available for those interested in the life and work of George R. Stewart. Jill and Anna were kind enough to entrust Anna’s kitchen and the collection to me for several days, during which I reviewed, edited, and scanned the photographs for use in the biography of Stewart. The cover of the biography is the iconic image of honeymooners George and Theodosia Stewart at the Cawston Ostrich Farm is a family favorite.
Jack Stewart also has photographs, taken for US 40 and Sheep Rock.
If some wealthy individual wants to fund historic photo preservation, the Stewart photo collections would be a fine project to undertake.
Inspired by cousin Michael Payne, I now dedicate Saturday as Radio night. It starts with Prairie Home Companion. Dessert is a listen to OF THE WEST.
One of the best radio programs on the air — at least as much fun, as mind-stretching and as entertaining as PHC or any film I’ve seen recently — is award-winning composer/musician/Montanan Phil Aaberg’s Of the West. Beautifully produced by Phil and Patty Aaberg, it combines music, interviews, and stories of place.
Phil was profoundly influenced by George R. Stewart’s work, especially Earth Abides. He’s even composed a piece called Earth Abides, which is on his Christmas Album. So Of The West, it might be said, is another gift from George R. Stewart, at least in some small way.
Here’s a fine example of OF THE WEST: Phil’s interview with another Deep Montanan, Scott McMillion, author of Mark of the Grizzly. Some great music, too, including Leroy Anderson’s Typewriter Song and Phil Aaberg’s lovely music from Deep Montana.
Give this a listen — especially those of you who write, or read, or like good music, or dream of Deep Montana.
Wikipedia has a good entry about George R. Stewart. But a few errors needed to be corrected, so I’ve just updated as a Wikipedia editor. Here’s a link to the updated page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_R._Stewart
One change had to do with the number of books Stewart wrote. The number given is usually incorrect, since few people know about Stewart’s works on English composition. Even Wallace Stegner, in his wonderful essay “George R. Stewart and the American Land,” mentions only 28 books by Stewart. But Stewart wrote 31. The three usually forgotten are The Technique of English Verse, 1930, Stewart’s first nationally-published book, English Composition: A Laboratory Course, and The Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley. Fred Waage, Stewart’s first biographer, tells me that the Lab book was in two volumes. Volume 2 was probably a workbook and likely to be thrown out once used by a student, so none are likely to exist. (If you find one, please let me know!) The Department of English was Stewart’s history of the Department, written for the University’s Centennial in 1968, and it contains some fine thoughts about the importance of curriculum.
Stewart’s books are a rich and diverse collection of works, many the first of their kind. In the next few weeks, I’ll review them, lightly, hoping to encourage you to take a look at some of them.