James Stevenson Publisher Bookstore
The Pike County Ballads
by John Hay
Pike County Ballads was authored by John Hay, who was Assistant Private Secretary to Abraham Lincoln. He also co-authored the 10-volume Abraham Lincoln: A History and other books. Hay later was appointed Ambassador to Great Britain (1897-98) under President William McKinley and Secretary of State (1898-1905) under President Theodore Roosevelt.
John Hay was a friend of Mark Twain’s, and assisted him in securing a publisher for at least one of his stories. Twain, who read Hay’s Pike County Ballads in 1871, was influenced by the colloquial speech of the characters, a new literary style that he had not used to that point. Twain did begin to use this vernacular, and in 1876 Tom Sawyer, and then Huckleberry Finn were the result. Given the early popularity and wide distribution of The Pike County Ballads, Hay’s dialect poems should receive greater credit with literary historians than has been the case, especially in view of their influence on Mark Twain, one of America’s greatest and best known writers.
The Pike County Ballads is a classic which saw many printings in the years following the Civil War. When it was reprinted in 1912, illustrations by N.C. Wyeth were added. (The book cover was also done by Wyeth. )
Paperback, 86 pages, $11.95
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