Charles A. Beard, an Intellectual Biography

By Ellen Nore | Go to book overview

9

History, Civilization,
and Abundance

From autumn 1923, when they returned from Japan, until the spring of 1927, Charles and Mary spent many hours on their masterpiece. After The Rise of American Civilization was published, Mary Beard wrote privately of her disappointment with the many reviewers who had assumed that "the whole product" was "CA's in spite of the fact that he had never written on cultural themes before." However, she declared, "the cultural side was my hunch—not just women." 1

On the subject of their collaboration the Beards often joked with inquirers. Their privacy was not to be violated. "We collaborate by yelling," Mary told a reporter. "I'm one of the world's noisiest people. But then, so is Charles. I have to keep up my end of the noise in order to be heard." 2 According to their daughter, Charles usually made the outlines of their collaborative works, but, in the drafting, each worked furiously in a separate study, and every paragraph was drafted and redrafted until both were satisfied. 3 "We worked together," Charles Beard commented. "Every line, every word, we discuss between us. You, as a lawyer," he told the interviewer,

know how two attorneys work together. You talk everything over. The discussions help clarify points and views. You do not duplicate work in research. One will look up one kind of thing; another, another. Mrs. Beard perhaps does a little more on the aesthetic side while I may do a bit more on the economic and political. But when a book comes out it is pretty hard to tell that any part of it is more the work of one than of the other. 4

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