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

A Brief Peace: The Postwar Years of George Sessions Perry

original publication. Ironically, the publishing house thought Hold
Autumn would not fare as well, inasmuch as Perry had already established
his reputation by the time it first appeared. A subsequent message from
the publishing company only enhanced the author's perplexity. Demand
for textbooks, stimulated by the massive college enrollment of veterans,
had "strained their paper supply." It hoped to publish the "Cities in
America" series in book form in the spring of 1947, which would post-
pone Hold Autumn "until we all know definitely what the possibilities are."
Appropriately, the Perrys purchased a property outside Rockdale, which
George, sentimentally, named the Hold Autumn Farm.16
The year 1947, Perry's first respite from the "Cities of America"
series, failed to meet his expectations of diversification. Answering a
request for autobiographical material, the writer appeared a man enjoy-
ing newfound leisure: "Most of my spare time is spent hunting and fish-
ing and raising white-faced cattle on my small stock farm near Rockdale.
In the summer I live in Guilford, Connecticut ... I believe I got my fill
of traveling when I visited twenty-two cities doing a series on them for
the Post." The upbeat tone belied his difficulties in marketing non-series
manuscripts. Perry resurrected a fictional character, "Oof," as the pro-
tagonist of a short story, "The Hackberry Hottentot," who took up carni-
val prizefighting. Although cleverly and humorously crafted, the piece
drew rejection slips from eight magazine editors. "It is a hell of a black
day here when I have to admit I can't sell a Perry story," sympathized
Haggard. Making an attempt at humor, she added: "How did you and
Assault get on? ... [someone] wants to interview the horse on the sub-
ject of Perry." Her witticism preceded another literary rejection. After
reviewing material on quarter horses lent him by Texas folklorist J.
Frank Dobie, Perry attempted to profile the King Ranch racehorse,
Assault. However, the managing Kleberg family insisted on reading and
editing the copy before submittal, a demand that the writer refused.
Forced to write the article "by hearsay," Perry failed "to capture the fla-
vor either of the track or the stable." "These are grim days," acknowl-
edged Haggard. "Everything is going wrong everywhere." Perry managed
to place four articles in addition to a piece on Houston, but his only
book in 1947 was the hardcover compilation of Cities of America."
16 Perry thought the movie "lousy," Dallas News, Dec. 16, 1945. Wilhliam Poole to Perry, Nov.
28, 1945, Letters Recip. Whittlesley House, Perry Collection (1st quotation); Poole to Perry, Jan.
21, 1946, Letters Recip. Whittlesley House, Perry Collection (2nd quotation); Alan Collins to
Perry, Feb. 7, 1946, Letters Recip. Curtis Brown Ltd., Perry Collection (3rd and 4th quotations);
Hairston, George Sesszons Perry, 47.
"7Perry, "Hackberry Hottentot," 1947 unpub., Works, Perry Collection; Edith Haggard to
Perry, Feb. 7, 1947, Letters Recip. Curtis Brown Ltd., Perry Collection (2nd quotation); Hibbs to
Haggard, Feb. 11, 1947, Works, Perry Collection (3rd quotation); Haggard to Perry, Feb. 13,

2002

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 August 28, 2015.