From Georgia Scenes, Characters, Incidents, &c. in the First Half Century of the Republic (“Author’s Preface” & “The Horse Swap”)

Augustus Baldwin Longstreet (1790–1870) published Georgia’s first important literary work, Georgia Scenes, Characters, Incidents, &c. in the First Half Century of the Republic (1835), a groundbreaking collection which drew the contemporary praise of Edgar Allan Poe for its penetrating understanding of southern character. The book was immensely popular, appearing in eleven separate editions between its publication and 1897. Despite this success, the writing of fiction was only a sideline for Longstreet, who held positions of prominence as a lawyer, judge, state senator, minister, newspaper editor, and college president. After serving in this last role at Emory College, Centenary College, the University of Mississippi, and South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina), he moved to Oxford, Mississippi in 1861. According to Longstreet scholar David Rachels, in December 1862 Federal troops reached Oxford and, using all of Longstreet’s papers as kindling, burned his house. Born in Augusta, Longstreet died eighty years later in Oxford. (Inducted as a charter member in 2000)