I grew up in Aurora, Illinois, a sprawling city located some forty miles west of Chicago (current population is about 175,000). I earned a B.A. degree in English from Illinois College in Jacksonville, a small school in central Illinois for which I will always have much abiding respect and affection. Founded in 1829, its alumni include William Jennings Bryan, whose initials are still plainly visible on one of the campus buildings where he carved them over 100 years ago. Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Greeley, Bronson Alcott, and country lawyer Abraham Lincoln are just a few of the nineteenth-century celebrities who addressed Illinois College audiences.
After graduation I immediately set out for Urbana-Champaign to work on my master’s degree in library science at the University of Illinois. The U. of I.’s library is one of the largest in the world, and I was fortunate to land both a job in the Rare Book Room and an assistantship with a highly respected scholar and bibliographer in the Library Science program. After I received my M.S. degree in 1974, I worked for a couple of years at Eureka College’s library in Eureka, Illinois, then four years at my alma mater, Illinois College. In 1980 I moved here to Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington).
As you can see by this Web page, some of my interests include non-fiction writing, based on literary and historical research. I also enjoy hiking in the Shenandoah Mountains.
I occasionally set off for the mountains with my two children. We have explored many of the trails along Skyline Drive and have observed deer, turkeys, and even a couple of bears! This photo of the three of us (along with my daughter’s furry puppet friend) was taken in the summer of 2000 at one of Skyline Drive’s numerous overlooks.
They have their own lives now, of course (My son is now in graduate school, and his sister recently graduated from college), but we stay in touch via email, phone calls, and text messages.
We also get together whenever we can. One weekend in November 2012 we went to the Shenandoah Mountains intending to hike along one of our favorite trails. Unfortunately, it had snowed recently, and most of the trails were ice-covered (with blustery winds as well). The lower elevations still showed signs of fall, as you can see by this photo. I’m sure we’ll be back soon.
My son and I went to Shenandoah’s Whiteoak Canyon in October 2012, and he took this photo of me on a cliff above Whiteoak’s famous waterfall. I also enjoy book collecting and reading. My bookcases include fiction and nonfiction, and along with many reference works, there is a shelf or two devoted to bibliomania (that is, book collecting). If you’re interested in used, out-of-print, or rare books, here are some of my favorite sites:
- AbeBooks: New & Used Books
- Add All Used and Out of Print Book Search
- Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America
- Book Collectors’ Glossary
- Books & Book Collecting
- Fine Books & Collections Magazine
- Firsts: The Book Collector’s Magazine
My children and I went to Skyline Drive in June 2013 and climbed Marys Rock at Thornton Gap. The top of is one of the few areas in the park where you have 360-degree views. Here is a panoramic photo (that’s me at the far right). The road at the center is the intersection of Route 211 with the entrance to Skyline Drive. Click on photo to enlarge.