1909. Item #84279
SMITH, Effie. ROSEMARY AND PANSIES. Boston: Richard G. Badger/The Gorham Press, 1909. First edition. 52 pp. Small 8vo., ribbed green cloth stamped in gilt and blind. Corners and spine somewhat shelfworn, with gilt cover lettering and floral ornaments rubbed. Ink ownership dated 1916 to front flyleaf. A few of the poems' titles have light pencil marks next to them. In 1900, educational opportunities were rare for both blacks and whites in most of eastern Kentucky. Black students in Pike County had to leave the mountains to advance beyond the eighth grade. In this environment Effie Waller, a young black woman, wrote ballads and verse to Bryant and Longfellow. Both of her parents were former slaves who provided all of their children a degree of education far beyond the norm. Waller's mother supplied the love and care that insulated the children from the harsh realities of racism. Effie Waller Smith married a deputy sheriff who was murdered in the line of duty, and when she moved out of Kentucky she left little record of her existence. What remains are three volumes of verse, three short stories, and a few poems she wrote for literary magazines. They testify to her desires and ambitions as a creative writer, and yet they remain largely unacknowledged. In 1906, Effie Waller Smith died in total obscurity. --David Deskins, Clerk of the Court, Pike County. Rare. Heredity By Effie Smith, in Rosemary and Pansies, 1909 Our dead forefathers, mighty though they be, For all their power still leave our spirits free; Though on our paths their shadows far are thrown, The life that each man liveth is his own.