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26 Main St.
Windsor, VT 05089

802 227 0008

Pure. Fresh. Vermont

That's what we offer at the Snapdragon Inn. Join us for a  relaxing getaway and explore the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. 

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Snapdragon Inn blog

Filtering by Category: "Mondays with Max"

Maxwell Perkins - the talk of Hollywood

The Snapdragon Inn

Seems that we aren't the only Max Perkins fans these days, as Sean Penn is in talks to play Perkins in a new movie based on a biography of Perkins. The book, "Maxwell Perkins: Editor of Genius" won a National Book Award when it was published in 1978 and has recently been re-released.

Of course, here at the Snapdragon we feel it is imperative that character research be conducted at Perkins' home, and we welcome Mr. Penn and the rest of the cast to stop in, relax on the porch, stroll the woods around Lake Runnemede, and soak in the history of Perkins where it happened. And if they can't make it, so be it - more room for you to do the same!

Preparing for summer

The Snapdragon Inn

No grand post today, folks. I'm painting my own house here in Illinois. It's going to be 91 degrees outside, so we are getting an early start. I guess I'm just trying to have a little of the Snapdragon experience while I'm so far away.

But on a literary note: my kids and I are putting together our summer reading lists. Have you made yours? Summer is a great time to turn off the TV, find some shade, and conquer that stack of books you've always wanted to read. I'm planning on reading North and South (British not Southern US) and Crash ( Jerry Spinelli- my 6th grader wants me to read it because as she says, "It's sooooooo good, Mom.")

What's on your list? If you need suggestions, there are great resources out there:
Your library
The American Association of Librarians website
Look up book award nominees: Newberry, Caldecott, Rebecca Caudill, Monarch etc..
Publisher's Weekly
Friends and family

Enjoy your summer reading. Maybe try some F. Scott Fitzgerald or some Ernest Hemingway in honor of our dear Max!

Have a great week!

The Snapdragon Inn

Don't forget to enter the May giveaway by commenting any any/all posts today and tomorrow!

I found a link to a book that would be wonderful to have in the library. It's called Reading the Mountains of Home by John Elder. I haven't read the whole book, only an excerpt, found here. The thing that caught my attention is that the author, John Elder, who is a writer and professor, demonstrates through a series of hikes in the Green Mountains how Robert Frost's poem "Directive" can be just as much a part of our natural experience as a Forest Service Guide. You can find out more about John Elder here and here.
The lush setting of Vermont is literally inspiring. In fact, you could say it has a renewing affect on many people who seek out the small trails and streams, or the granite peaks to find a spiritual solace. It is part of the tradition of Vermont to protect it's land from the chaos of the 21st Century, sometimes to the frustration of residents, but most of the time, all who are able to look out onto Lake Runnemeade in Windsor and not see a flashing electronic billboard or convenience store sign are grateful.
If you have an interest in Vermont literature, John Elder may be an author you would enjoy. Or better yet, find your favorite poem about the world around us and head outdoors to begin truly appreciating the connection and inspiration that comes from capturing the beauty around us in the written word.

A snapshot of a career

The Snapdragon Inn

Quick post today--

Here's a page I found that I thought summarizes the career of Max Perkins succinctly. Ever since I've become familiar with Perkins, I have had a deeper appreciation for the role of an editor. Why is it that their names don't appear more prominently on a title page? When you re-read you favorite book again, take time to think about the editor who helped take the author's brainchild of a first draft and turn it into the masterpiece that you enjoy (sometimes over and over again.)

Click HERE!

Enjoy your week!

Father and Editor

The Snapdragon Inn

Here's another sampling of a letter Max Perkins wrote to his daughter Bertha. I loved these paragraphs because they illustrate the father that Max was, as he gives out counsel to his daughter. Then in the next paragraph he talks about his other passion in life, his work as a literary editor.

Truly a man who worked to have a balance between dedication to family and dedication to his work.

Have a great week everyone!

Letter Images scanned from "Father to Daughter"

(Taken from a letter to Bertha dated June 10, 1927)
Berta, I hope you and the others too, will go to church with Grandma on Sundays. I believe you will like doing it too. You have a deep, religious nature--all people of a deep nature are religious truly, even if not technically--and if you can conform to a church it will be best for you and will help to make you happy. Few, if any, can go it alone in this world. And the truest things are known not by the mind but my the feelings. -- So do go to church and think about the Service. You'll have plenty of time for pleasure. There's no use to reason about things you know reason can never explain, and if you do it you get a habit of scepticism that enslaves you.
Tonight I just read the ms. of a History of Mankind, which is excellently done, and I hope you will sometime ready it. But how to publish it is a question--for colleges, or schools, or for the public in general; with pictures or without them? I started the author writing when you were only about five years old by suggesting a book to him which turned out successfully. He's Editor in Chief of the Herald-Tribune now. He's been working on this book for years.
Do write again soon, Sweetheart, and write as long a letter as you can.
Your Daddy

The History of Scribner

The Snapdragon Inn

We've talked about the works that Maxwell Perkins edited, but we haven't mentioned much about the company he was loyal to and added to for his entire career. That company was Charles Scribner's Sons.

I found a link that published some excerpts from an address given by Charles Scribner III in 1978, which I thought would be interesting to share. Here are just a few bits of the larger excerpt, focusing on the founding of the company and then Maxwell Perkin's era. If you have time to read the entire excerpt it's really fascinating.

The history of Charles Scribners Sons begins in 1846 with the publishing partnership of Isaac Baker and Charles Scribner. The younger partner, Scribner, was a New Yorker of twenty-five, who had graduated from Princeton in the class of 1840.

At that time, to start an independent publishing company was something of an innovation. Most of the established houses had either grown out of printing plants, following the noble tradition of the sixteenth-century Plantin Press in Antwerp, or were offshoots of retail book shops. On the one hand, a printer might venture into publishing to provide work for his press; on the other, a bookseller might become a part-time publisher to supply extra books to sell in his store.


In 1894 the firm capped the climax of fifteen years under C. S. II by moving into a stately, six-story building on Fifth Avenue and Twenty-first Street, designed by the renowned American Beaux-Arts architect Ernest Flagg, who was Scribners brother-in-law. On the ground floor was a magnificent bookstore, the prototype for the more famous store on Forty-eighth Street and Fifth Avenue. Scribners was to remain at Twenty-first and Fifth for nineteen years, until 1913, during which time a cornucopia of new authors was added to the house. This was truly a golden age of American book publishing. At the turn of the century Scribners had virtually cornered the market in American literature.


The year 1913 marked a new chapter in the history of the firm. In that year another move was made up Fifth Avenue to the new and even larger Ernest Flagg building at Forty-eighth Street. This was the third headquarters since Charles IIs presidency and the scene of the last of the almost equal periods in his fifty years with the firm. Scribner had been fielding a whole new team of young editors, the most famous of whom was Maxwell Perkins, about whom a major biography has been published and whose letters to Fitzgerald and Hemingway have been published by us. These volumes provide one of the clearest windows into the world of editor-author relations. Another well-known Scribner editor, and a distinguished poet in his own right, was John Hall Wheelock. Those two men, Perkins and Wheelock, were both young Harvard graduates who invaded a then predominantly Princeton company and brought it great new success by their editorial intuition and skill.

In 1913 Charles Scribners only son, another Charles (III), graduated from Princeton and began his own career in publishing. He was a contemporary of Perkins and Wheelock, and his age gave him a ready grasp of the importance of the new writers who were beginning to appear on the scene. Another era in American literature was dawning and the firms enthusiasm for the new authors was to yield it a rich harvest. There was Alan Seeger, whose Poems came out in 1916, best remembered for his rendezvous with death. Four years later, F. Scott Fitzgerald heralded the Jazz Age with his first novel, This Side of Paradise. Stark Youngs The Flower in Drama appeared in 1923 and, in the following years, Ring Lardners How To Write Short Stories (1924), James Boyds Drums (1925, a year best remembered for The Great Gatsby), and John W. Thomason, Jr.s Fix Bayonets (also in 1925). In 1926 Ernest Hemingways The Torrents of Spring and The Sun Also Rises were both published. In view of Hemingways later achievements and his equally enduring loyalty to the firm, we shall always think of that as a year set apart. Thomas Wolfe, at the end of this glorious decade, made his debut with Look Homeward, Angel in 1929.

Around this time, the long career of Charles Scribner II was drawing to a close. In 1928, he turned over the presidency to his younger brother Arthur and continued on only as chairman of the board. Happily, he lived to see the first published volumes of the Dictionary of American Biography, a project which extended from 1928 to 1936 and a work to which he had given his utmost support: it was probably the most important project the firm had ever undertaken and was developed with the American Council of Learned Societies, which has subsequently collaborated with Scribners on other reference projects. In 1930 Charles II died, as did the loyal and patient Arthur in 1932, leaving Charles III to preside alone. He was only forty-one at the time.

It would be hard to think of a more difficult time in which to take over the management of a large publishing house. The Great Depression was in its worst stage, and the future must have appeared most uncertain for books. Yet the firm continued to look for fresh talent and take chances on new authors in a way that marks this as one of the most enterprising periods in all our history, an achievement that testifies to the aims and courage of C. S. III and to the devoted support that his associates, Max Perkins in particular, gave him. In the following years many important new works appeared, not only by already established authors such as Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wolfe, but also by unknown writers who were later to become famous. Among these firsts by new authors were Marcia Davenports great biography of Mozart, published in 1932 and still in print; Nancy Hales The Young Die Good; Marjorie Kinnan Rawlingss South Moon Under in 1933, followed by her most famous novel, The Yearling, five years later; Hamilton Bassos Beauregard in 1933; Taylor Caldwells Dynasty of Death in 1938, and Christine Westons Be Thou the Bride in 1940. An extraordinary decade of debuts.

At the same time the 1930s also saw some sad losses. Thomas Wolfe was the most visible, a loss due primarily to his own self-proclaimed dependence on his editor, Max Perkins, which not surprisingly led to his feeling compelled to sever that editorial umbilical cord. Then, in 1937, Scribners Magazine folded after fifty glorious years of publication, a casualty of newer and slicker magazines and, supposedly, of the radio.

Right after the war, yet another Charles Scribner (IV or Jr.) joined the firm. It was to be the last year of Max Perkinss life, but he left behind two budding novelists, James Jones and Alan Paton.

In 1952 Charles III died very suddenly; he had just finished reading the manuscript of Hemingways short classic, The Old Man and the Sea, which was dedicated to him and Perkins. After his fathers death, Charles Scribner, Jr. moved back from Washington, where hed been sent as cryptoanalyst during the Korean War, and took the helm at the age of thirty-one. One of his first moves was to close the Scribner printing and warehousing plant, which had operated since 1908. It was a few blocks down the street and had been designed as a complete manufacturing unit, but new economic realities indicated that even a relatively large firm could not reasonably support its own printing plant.

Take some time to learn about one of the truly great American publishing houses and it's history. Have a great week and look out for pictures of the newly painted library to come soon!

Max and Fitzgerald


Enter the April giveaway (custom SD prints)
by commenting on any/every post from April 6th until Midnight Tonight!

As we have mentioned before, one of Max's authors was F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most of us probably didn't make it out of high school without at least reading "The Great Gatsby" and I am wishing I had the time to delve into more and more of the literature edited by Max. It is fascinating to have this connection to the Inn and to have record of the communication between Max and his authors.

"What a time you've had with your sons, Max-
Earnest gone to Spain, me gone to Hollywood,
Tom Wolfe reverting to an artistic hill-billy.
Fitzgerald to Perkins, April 23, 1938

Does anyone have a favorite Fitzgerald? Have you read "Tender is the Night"?

An encouraging father

The Snapdragon Inn

The letters between Max and his daughters in Father to Daughter are too lovely and tender not to share. They give such insight into the lives of the family who called 26 Main home (at least on holidays) with the most charming hand drawn illustrations. Max would keep up correspondence with his girls while he remained in NYC to work and they spent time in their home in Windsor during summers and holidays. I think this quote in the introduction by the eldest daughter, Bertha Perkins Frotheringham, speaks volumes.

"Max Perkins was interested in all of his children and guided and encouraged us with out ever seeming to do so. It was not until I read Editor to Author for the first time, after his death, that I realized that he brought out the very best in his writers in exactly the same way the he encouraged us to do the very best we were capable of. John Hall Wheelock, in his introduction to Editor to Author, says, "the recognizing, the encouraging, the guiding of talent-this, in his opinion, was the sacred task worth any amount of effort, of risk, of time expended." He put the same time and effort into encouraging and guiding his daughters, each one according to her particular interests and talents."

Jane, Zippy, Bert, and Peggy about 1922

Nancy, age 12 in a dress designed and made by Peggy, 1938.

This illustration accompanied a letter written in 1916 while Max was guarding the Mexican border (a blog post here). It says, "This or This? Well I think it will be this" pointing to the girls. Does it get any sweeter? Nope.

We will occasionally share more of these tender communications between father and daughter that we have all come to appreciate as we learn more of Max and his family.

(all images scanned from the Father to Daughter)

A poem to start the week

The Snapdragon Inn

Spring is coming! I thought today it would be nice to take in a poem. So here it is. Have a wonderful week and enjoy all the tiny details that announce the coming of Spring!

i thank You God for most this amazing
e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of a sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings;and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any----lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Don't forget to enter our giveaway (info here) for the nice, soft, comfy, organic cotton Vermont Tee and other goodies to help you be ready to soak up the sun! Just comment on any post this week. The giveaway will be open until the 24th!
(That's Wednesday, in case you were wondering.)

Another of Max's authors

The Snapdragon Inn

We've mentioned F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway as two of the authors that Perkins worked with. Today, I thought it would be fun to mention Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Rawlings was the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Yearling. Believe it or not, I have never read this American classic. I just checked it out from the library and can't wait to get started. The Yearling received the Pulitzer Prize in 1939. Scribners published the book in the spring of 1938 and it was indeed edited by Maxwell Perkins.

The Yearling is a story of a young boy named Jody who adopts an orphaned fawn. Set in rural Florida, The Yearling has become a standard for young adult audiences. In the 1930s, Rawlings lived and worked in Cross Creek, Florida. Much of her inspiration came from the natural surroundings and the local folk. Her home there is now a Florida state park.

Rawlings was just another in a long list of authors who put their trust in Max Perkins for his editorial guidance and expertise. The result was a list of fiction that has endured and still brings enjoyment to many readers of all ages, not to mention a Pulitzer.

Here's a link to some information about the classic 1946 film version of The Yearling.

And just on a quirky side note, can anyone tell me what The Yearling has to do with The Gilmore Girls?

Have a great week everyone and stay tuned for information about our March GIVEAWAY!