By Hilbert H. Campbell
Perhaps the smaller “fugitive” publications of no other important American writer of the twentieth century have proven more elusive to would-be bibliographers than those of Sherwood Anderson. Since Raymond D. Gozzi’s bibliography of Anderson’s periodical appearances (1947) and Sheehy and Lohf’s Sherwood Anderson: A Bibliography (1960), scholars have continued to work toward a more complete list.
The most substantial lists of later additions have appeared in the bibliography of William A. Sutton’s The Road to Winesburg, 1972 (more than 50 early periodical and newspaper appearances); in Ray Lewis White’s Studies in Bibliography article in 1978, “Sherwood Anderson: Fugitive Pamphlets and Broadsides, 1918-1940” (17 items); and in “Sherwood Anderson: Additions to the Bibliography,” by Charles Modlin, Hilbert Campbell, and Kenichi Tekada, also published in Studies in Bibliography in 1986 (36 items).
Although by now certainly about all of Anderson’s publications must have been documented, a San Francisco bookseller’s advertisement on the internet in 1997 led me eventually to purchase at least one more of these “fugitives.”
The Cornfields, published in 1939 by the House of Russell in New York, is a four-page pamphlet with light green wrappers. It consists simply of a reprint of “The Cornfields,” the first poem in Mid-American Chants (1918), and a biographical note. It is an exact reprint, except that the original wording “sweet oil of the corn” emerges here as “sweet oil of corn.”
I can’t find any surviving correspondence between Anderson and the House of Russell. They may, however, have specialized in publishing poetry. The only ones of Anderson’s books mentioned by name in the biographical note are his two books of poetry; and the few other books published by the House of Russell that I have been able to locate are all books of poetry by relatively obscure authors.
If and when other previously undocumented Anderson “fugitives” should come to your attention, the editors of Sherwood Anderwon Review would like to know of them.