Wednesday, May 10, 2023

C. Armitage Harper

C. Armitage Harper (b. Harrison, Arkansas, 24 June 1905; d. Little Rock, 30 June 1975)

Clio Armitage Harper was the son of Clio Harper (1872-1932), at times a newspaper editor, and proprietor of a printing shop, and his wife, Zella Armitage (1876-1942), who were married in Harrison, Arkansas, on 26 September 1897. They had a daughter in 1899 who died in infancy; the son was their only other child. The father published several small booklets of poetry in the 1920s.

Little is known of the boy’s youth, but he was educated at the University of Arkansas (B.A., 1925) and Harvard University (M.A. 1927). He married [Grace] Eleanor Purifoy (1906-1983) in El Dorado, Arkansas, on 29 March 1928. He would follow his father and run a printing shop. Harper and his wife had three children, two sons and a daughter, the oldest of which was C. Armitage Harper, Jr., who has sometimes been confused with his father.

His first book, American Ghost Stories (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, [5 October] 1928), collects sixteen stories, with an introduction by the editor. Harper notes that the American contribution to the ghost story is to break it away from the conventional and to add humor, so he has included such stories by Mark Twain, Joel Chandler Harris, and Frank R. Stockton. The book also includes representative tales by Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Fitz-James O’Brien, Ambrose Bierce, Edith Wharton, Mary Wilkins Freeman, and F. Marion Crawford, among others, including Brander Matthews, Wilbur Daniel Steele, and Theodore Dreiser. Harper closes by saying that he has made an attempt to choose representatives of the various types: “from different sections of the country; tales of the sea; stories in dialect and with slang; tales perfect in exposition and technique, There are terrifying ghosts, malignant ghouls, ludicrous spectres . . .  Humorous stories have been interspersed among the tragic and horrific to allay the chill of terror which comes naturally . . . A happy balance of ghostland material has been attempted” (17). The book was published in England by Jarrolds in November 1929. It must not have sold well, for copies of both editions are scarce.

Harper also wrote The Story of Arkansas (1931), and, co-authored with L.A. Henry, Conservation in Arkansas (1939). 

No comments:

Post a Comment