Books & Essays
University of Georgia Press
Based on the photographs and writings of Francis Harper, a naturalist who visited the Okefinokee Swamp repeatedly between 1912 and 1951, Okefinokee Album recalls life in the "land of trembling earth" before the outside world encroached in the 1940s. Filled with profiles of the swamp dwellers, their wisdom, superstitions, songs, stories, and folkways, as well as a wealth of information about the natural history of the swamp, Okefinokee Album richly documents a vanished age and the heritage of a remarkable people.
Francis Harper first visited the Okefenokee Swamp in 1912 as a member of a biological survey team from Cornell University and returned many times over the next four decades. He wrote a wide range of books and articles on natural history and folklore, including a naturalist's edition of The Travels of William Bartram. Harper died in 1972, before he had finished assembling his material on the Okefinokee.
Delma E. Presley, a professor of English at Georgia Southern University, prepared Okefinokee Album for publication.
Book Review #1:
"Harper did an invaluable service in capturing the Okefinokee's peculiar brand of culture before it began to decline in the 1930s. The expression 'rare treat' is overused but perfectly accurate with regard to this abridgement of Harper's work" ?Booklist
Book Review #2:
"Marvelous, candid photos out of time itself....The photographs are worth the price of admission. Not to mention the 'Swamp Talk' vocabulary that is itemized, the wonderful ballads, stories of the conjure doctor, and plain tales that embellish the serious documentary with the art of life" ?Southern Living
Book Review #3:
"A tantalizing sampler that manages to capture the mystique of the swamp and its former inhabitants" ?Journal of American Folklore