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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Literary Lantern

by Alex Albright, 2006

The Literary Lantern was a column by Addison Hibbard published in several North Carolina newspapers beginning in 1923. An English professor and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of North Carolina, Hibbard signed his columns "Telfair, Jr." The Literary Lantern was a weekly column "intended to throw light on writing around and about the South." At its peak in the 1920s, it was syndicated in 15 southern newspapers in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Tennessee, with a combined circulation of 450,000. Those early columns, which usually featured an extended review or two, lots of notices and news, and an original poem, were important vehicles for redefining southern literature during the twentieth century. Several poems originally published in it were selected for inclusion in Braithwaite's annual anthologies of periodical verse.

The Literary Lantern's authorship changed often. Hibbard turned it over to Raymond William Adams, although Hibbard continued to write occasional columns at least as late as 1927, when several were also signed by "The Book-keeper." Over the next two decades, the column was written by Howard Mumford Jones, Elizabeth Lay Green, Paul Green, Phillips Russell, Cara Mae Russell, and Jessie Rehder. The Green-Russell-Rehder years were dominated first by Elizabeth Lay Green, who took over the column from Jones, and Cara Mae Russell, who wrote it almost continuously from 1935 to 1942.

Walter Spearman began writing the column in 1946, continuing to do so until his death in 1987. Ted Malone then wrote it until 1990, when Guy Munger took it over. After more than 75 years of continuous publication, the Literary Lantern ceased to appear in newspapers at the beginning of the twenty-first century.