The Shepherd of the Hills
Last summer I scored a stack of somewhat battered vintage books at a thrift store. Do you remember the lovely copy of Tennyson? Here’s another treasure I found that same day.
This 1907 copy of The Shepherd of the Hills still has the original dust jacket. It’s tattered and fragile, but it’s amazing to me that it has been loosely wrapped around this book for well over 100 years.
Just think about that!
The vintage illustrations are lovely, even though they don’t exactly fit the story in my mind.
And yes, indeed, I’m familiar with the story, old as it is.
You see, this is the book that triggered the vacation destination of Branson.
According to Wikipedia: “…it was Wright’s second novel, The Shepherd of the Hills, published in 1907 and set in Branson, Missouri, that established him as a best-selling author. That book also attracted a growing stream of tourists to the little-known town of Branson, resulting in its becoming a major tourist destination.”
That’s where my story comes in.
In the summer of 1984 Lyle and I were beginning to plan our wedding. I lived at home with my parents in West Plains, Missouri. Every two or three weeks Lyle would drive about 6 hours each way from where he lived in Kansas to spend the weekend with my family. He and I spent many of those weekends exploring the area.
One weekend he took me to Branson to see the outdoor theatrical production of The Shepherd of the Hills. As a souvenir, he bought a copy of the book in the gift shop which, of course, I’ve kept all these years.
It’s not as lovely as the antique copy, but it’s also not as fragile. So when I decided to re-read the story recently I picked up the newer copy, which by now is more than 30 years old.
I don’t remember the last time I read it. Maybe not since the mid-’80s.
Much to my delight I found yet another treasure when I opened the book. Tucked inside as bookmarks were our very tickets from Branson in 1984!
It’s amazing to me that they’ve stayed tucked in the book through all our moves and shuffling around for well over 30 years.
Just think about that!
Harold Bell Wright wrote 19 novels between 1902 and 1942. The Shepherd of the Hills is the only title I own. (In hard copy, that is. I have a few others in e-book format.)
As I was working on this blog post I remembered that Granddaddy collected Harold Bell Wright’s books. I texted Mother to see if she still had any of them. She did and was happy to send me the following pictures.
I noticed she has two copies of The Eyes of the World. She probably needs to give me one of those, don’t you think?
I’m pretty sure I need a copy of That Printer of Udell’s also, being in the printing field currently.
Nah. Not really. It’s fun to collect books as I have room. I especially enjoy the memories they trigger. But as long as the public library is available (not to mention good ol’ Project Gutenberg) I don’t have to own all the books.
Several Harold Bell Wright titles are available for free in e-book format, being in the public domain by now:
- That Printer of Udell’s
- The Shepherd of the Hills
- The Calling of Dan Matthews
- The Uncrowned King
- The Winning of Barbara Worth
- Their Yesterdays
- The Eyes of the World
- When a Man’s a Man
- The Re-Creation of Brian Kent
- Helen of the Old House
Do you like vintage books? Have you read any of these?
Janet L Albertson
We also went to Branson and Shepherd of the Hills play on our honeymoon in October 1983. We also bought a copy of the blue one you bought on your honeymoon.
I love your old copy of Shepherd of the Hills. The Rehfeldts gifted me a copy for my high school graduation, which I still have. It looks like your 1984 copy. 🙂
Karla Ezell Cook
That is so special! I wonder if they bought it at the Shepherd of the Hills site since they lived close by, or if other places in the area also carried the book?
Rachel Easley Going
Wow! I didn’t realize your mom had all of those. He started collecting them later in his life. I have read “Shepherd of the Hills” and “Calling of Dan Matthews”, I think.
Have you read “That printer of Udell’s?” I just read it. Very good book.
Karla Ezell Cook
I’m pretty sure I have read it. I think I read the e-book several years ago before I had a Kindle. I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg to my laptop and read it that way.