|Dimensions||6 × 9 in|
W. Paul Cook
Willis T. Crossman’s Vermont: Stories by W. Paul Cook
Edited with an introduction by Sean Donnelly and Leland M. Hawes Jr.
This appealing collection of wise and humorous stories by W. Paul Cook (1880-1948) is set in the author’s native state of Vermont. Written under the pen name Willis T. Crossman, the stories first appeared in the 1930s and 1940s in newspapers, literary magazines, and a dozen books and booklets printed in very small numbers. Their limited circulation all but destined the stories to be lost and forgotten. But throughout his life, Cook showed little inclination to profit from what he wrote and published.
The Crossman books and pamphlets, set in type and printed by his own hands, impress one, above all else, as labors of love. Years earlier he’d published a magazine with the revealing motto: “For Love Only. Not for Sale.” That principle guided much of what he did throughout a long career as a professional and amateur printer. Love is evident in these stories and in the original printed items themselves: love of his native Vermont’s history, her land, and especially her people.
The afterword is by Welford D. Taylor, who taught American literature for forty years at The University of Richmond, retiring in 2004 as James A. Bostwick Professor of English, Emeritus. The cover of the book is illustrated with “Wall’s House” by J. J. Lankes, a woodcut inspired by one of the artist’s sojourns in New England while collaborating with Robert Frost.