J.D.B. de Bow: Magazinist of the Old South

J.D.B. de Bow: Magazinist of the Old South

J.D.B. de Bow: Magazinist of the Old South

J.D.B. de Bow: Magazinist of the Old South

Excerpt

J. D. B. DE BOW did much in his forty-seven years to fashion and promote the economic, intellectual, and political aspirations of the Old South. If some of the beacons he helped with complete sincerity to erect were erroneously set, his section nevertheless steered its course by them. No one has left so full a record of Southern resources and enterprises and of schemes for betterment and apprehensions of impending dangers as is contained in the some fifty thousand pages, "if in the ordinary type and page," which he wrote or edited.

He succeeded in fields that the experiences of other Southerners had rendered unpropitious. In statistics he won an international reputation; in journalism, wealth and unparalleled influence.

De Bow has been relegated to comparative obscurity because even scholars who have drawn heavily on his Compendium of the Seventh Census, his Industrial Resources of the Southern and Western States, and the thirty-odd volumes of his Review have found him appallingly dull. He has been generally forgotten also because he staunchly championed causes that failed -- slavery, secession, and the South's bid for independence.

I am indebted to the officials of many libraries, especially to those of Harvard College, the Charleston Library Society, the College of Charleston, the State of Tennessee, the City of New York, Congress; the universities of Alabama, Minnesota, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin; Duke, Tulane, and Louisiana State.

Numerous individuals have placed me deeply in their debt. Professor Arthur M. Schlesinger of Harvard University first called my attention to the need for the study, and then critically read the early drafts of the first half of the biography. The late Judge J. D. B. De Bow offered me the hospitality of his home, where I used his father's papers. Dr. Joe Farrar, sometime President of Northwestern State College, and the Committee on Research of . . .

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