The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

A Brief Peace: The Postwar Years of George Sessions Perry

telephone company official disputed Perry's statement that a Cincinnati
flood in 1937 had obliterated all means of contact except the radio.
"Telephone communications to and from Cincinnati were in no way
impaired during the flood period," he insisted. The complainer requested
the name of the source "to enlighten" the person, but acknowledged that
he found the article "most interesting." The publicity director of the
Pennsylvania highway department wished to counter "the impression that
the city [of Pittsburgh] is financing the entire construction cost" of a thor-
oughfare largely funded by the state. One reader sent the writer a
Cincinnati newspaper article in which an infuriated Kentuckian took
exception to a perceived slight by Perry of her home state. The story
described the offended woman as "casting a threatening glance
Philadelphia-ward [home office of the Post] .""
Although Perry's editors constantly complimented his work on the
series, at times they asserted their redactive prerogatives. "As I indicated
in my wire," stated one directive, "we are pretty unhappy about the
Dallas-Fort Worth piece. After the spectacular job you did with San
Antonio, we had sort of expected a minor miracle, I guess, and it didn't
turn out that way." Referring to a lack of clarity in the lead paragraph
and an excess of minutia, managing editor Fuoss recommended that
George concentrate on "one big theme." "It's been a long time since we
asked you for another take on one of these cities pieces," he reminded.
"It would have to be Texas, wouldn't it?"ls
In some instances the publication's politically conservative editorial
positions dictated revisions. By will power or maturation, Perry had
tamed his youthful quixotism, though residues remained. A professed
atheist since the death of his father and the departure of a preacher who
had for a time rekindled his boyhood faith, Perry revealed his lingering
animosity toward Calvinism in his report on Boston, one of the earliest
selections in the series. Confronted with such statements as "if you were
caught riding a broomstick, Cotton Mather and his followers barbecued
you instantly"; "[Puritans] beat the daylights out of Quakers, sometimes
flogging them from one town to another, now and then to death"; and
"old-line Yankees [still] give both the Irish and the Jews a fish eye," the
managing editor urged "skirting the dangerous political, racial, and reli-
gious pitfalls more skillfully." The presence of strong labor unions and
labor unrest in Detroit prompted the Post to allow the editorial director
12Joseph HenryJackson to Perry, Feb. 21, 1946, Letters Recip. I-L, Perry Collection; George I.
Fisher to Perry, Aug. 7, 1946, Letters Recip. P-Q, Perry Collection (2nd quotation); O. A Frank
to Perry, Apr. 19, 1946, Letters Recip. C, Perry Collection (1st quotation); Czncznnatz Post, Apr.
22, 1946, Letters Recip. C, Perry Collection (3rd quotation).
'3Robert Fuoss to Perry, Dec. 27, 1945, Works, Perry Collection.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 27, 2015.