Southwestern Historical Quarterly
you with terrapin." A co-resident added, "Please return when you can
relax and enjoy it ... Life is getting up a story on Baltimore following
your lead." Reporters frequently sought out Perry, treating his presence
in their city as a news event. To a Portland, Maine, interviewer, he
acknowledged, "Maine food . . . is much better than we have had in
other places," but revealed the toll on his patience from two weeks of
material gathering when he commented, "My only trouble is trying not
to get too much help."1
Interspersed among the general public praise, an occasional dour
opinion or correction of an error stung the exacting writer. Sometimes
the bluntness of the letter moved the Post editors to forward it to Perry
without comment. One critic groused that "you know good writers and
well you know that Perry can't write. Why continue to boost him[?]"
Generally, the Post, which increased its sales and prestige in the cities
featured in the series, broached complaints gingerly. Leaders in the
selected cities usually reacted similarly: "We continue to hear comments
about your Atlanta article," the advertising manager of the Georgia
Power Company stated guardedly, "and most of them are complimenta-
ry, but the opposite category supplies enough to keep the conversation
going. Whatever else your article did, it generated considerable conver-
sation, which is a desirable thing." A misplacement of the Polo Grounds,
from Manhattan to the Bronx, in an article on New York City drew a
flood of rebukes from Giants fans. The error proved particularly embar-
rassing to Perry because the Post had changed his correct designation.
"George had a chance to check this in proof," the managing editor Bob
Fuoss observed lamely, "but I don't blame him for missing it ... The
only thing I can say is that we do save George a number of headaches
too," citing examples of incorrect area and population statistics."
Complaints from the readers sent directly to Perry lacked the buffering
usually interposed by the Post editorial staff and varied in emotional inten-
sity. Most were succinct but respectful. A San Francisco newsman pointed
out that Perry had misdated the Panama Pacific International Exposition
by five years and hoped that he had not provided the misinformation. A
10 Hairston, George Sessions Perry, 55; Joseph Henry Jackson to Perry, Feb. 21, 1946, Letters
Recip. I-L, Perry Collection (3rd quotation); E. Leo Koester to Perry, Feb. 22, 1946, Letters
Recip. C, Perry Collection (2nd quotation); Connolly to Perry, Mar. 12, 1946, Letters Recip.
C, Perry Collection (4th quotation); Portland Evening Express, Mar. 23, 1946, Letters Recip.
P-Q, Perry Collection (6th quotation); H. Findley French to Perry, Apr. 24, 1946, Letters
Recip. E-F, Perry Collection (5th quotation); Koester to Perry, May 13, 1946, Perry Collection
"John R. March to Perry, Oct. 29, 1945, Letters Recip. G, Perry Collection (2nd quotation);
Edith Haggard to Perry, Feb. 6, 1946, Letters Recip. Curtis Brown ltd., Perry Collection (3rd
quotation); B. O. to Ben Hibbs, Oct. 5, 1946, Letters Recip, Fan Letters unidentified F, Perry
Collection (1st quotation).
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed October 24, 2014.