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Carolina Christmas

Archibald Rutledge's Enduring Holiday Stories

Jim Casada

Publication Year: 2012

Carolina Christmas collects for the first time holiday stories of Archibald Rutledge (1883–1973), one of the most prolific outdoor and nature writers of the twentieth century and the first poet laureate of South Carolina. Some of Rutledge's finest writing revolves around his vivid memories of hunt, hearth, and holidays. These memories are celebrated in this keepsake collection of enduring stories and poems, further augmented with traditional recipes and food lore associated with the season. Archibald Rutledge spent decades teaching at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. All the while he supplemented his income through his writings in order to support a growing family and restoration efforts at Hampton Plantation, his ancestral home in coastal South Carolina—now a state historic site. Each Christmas, Rutledge returned to his cherished Hampton Plantation for hunting, celebrations of the season, and renewal of his decidedly Southern soul. This annual migration home meant the opportunity to enjoy hunting and communion with nature—so vitally important to him—and to renew acquaintances with those living on neighboring plantations and with the African American community he immortalized in his book God's Children. Rutledge wrote dozens of stories and poems revolving around the Hampton Hunt, fellowship with family and friends, the serenity of the winter woods, and his appetite for seasonal Southern foodways. Edited by Jim Casada, this collection highlights the very best of Rutledge's holiday tales in a vibrant tapestry through which Christmas runs as a bright, sparkling thread. In these tales of Christmas past—each representative of the author's sterling literary reputation and continuing popularity—Rutledge guides us once more into a world of traditions now largely lost. But to tread those forgotten trails once more, to sample and savor the foods he loved, and to experience vicariously the sport he so enjoyed is to experience the wonder of yesteryear.

Published by: University of South Carolina Press

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

Over the course of some three decades involving active study of the life and literary endeavors of Archibald Rutledge, many individuals have helped me or encouraged my efforts. Foremost in their ranks was the late Irvine Rutledge, Old Flintlock’s son. Irv was enthusiastic about my plans for a series of anthologies ...

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A Note on Selection

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pp. xiii-xiv

Unlike my previous Archibald Rutledge anthologies, selection of items for inclusion in the current one has been a relatively simple, straightforward undertaking. The seasonal focus explains this in large measure, but some mention of how the pieces included were located does seem merited. ...

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pp. xv-xviii

Hampton hunts and wildwood walks are experiences I have shared vicariously with Archibald Rutledge from the days of starry-eyed youth to the present. As a youngster his stories in Field & Stream and Outdoor Life so entranced me that I carefully timed my visits to the barbershop in order to be sure to face a lengthy wait for a barber’s chair. ...

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Part I: Christmas in Dixie

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pp. 1-70

The hunting experience was part and parcel of the holiday season at Hampton, and the quest rightly holds preeminence in the contents of this anthology. Nonetheless Rutledge was closely attuned to the wider meaning of the season. He delighted in the simple joys of sharing and giving, not merely with his immediate family but with neighbors and, especially, the black residents on the plantation. ...

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Part II: A Natural Christmas

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pp. 71-98

Today’s readers tend to remember Rutledge primarily as a hunting writer, and unquestionably he was a master of the genre. Yet during his lifetime he was at least as well known as a nature writer. The selections in this section offer solid evidence of why this was the case. ...

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Part III: The Hampton Hunt: Whitetail Tales

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pp. 99-170

Christmas vacations at Hampton were filled with activity. They included joyous reunions with the black people resident on the plantation, who had not seen the Rutledge family since late summer, and a constant stream of visitors as family and friends from surrounding plantations, nearby McClellanville, and the Charleston area came to the stately old home; ...

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Part IV: The Hampton Hunt: Other Game

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pp. 171-194

This piece first appeared in the August 1920 issue of Field & Stream and later was included in Plantation Game Trails (pages 160–64). At the time quail, those noble little patricians of fence rows and overgrown ditches, patches of broomsedge and unharvested field corners were plentiful. ...

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Part V: Christmas Verse

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pp. 195-202

Without much question, posterity remembers and honors Rutledge more for his prose than his poetry. Booksellers indicate that his collections of stories are in greater demand than those bringing together poems, although the scarcity of both attests to his enduring popularity. ...

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Part VI: Feasting at Hampton: The Culinary Aspects of a Low Country Christmas

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pp. 203-226

Writing in My Colonel and His Lady, a moving tribute to his parents, Rutledge offered some insight into the kind of fare that was standard for the holidays at Hampton. “I hate,” he ventured, “to describe a plantation Christmas dinner if I cannot offer my readers the dinner itself.” ...

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About the Editor

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pp. 227-246

Jim Casada, a retired history professor, is one of the country’s most widely published outdoor writers. He has written or edited more than forty books, contributed to many others, and authored some five thousand magazine articles. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781611172096
Print-ISBN-13: 9781570039546

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012