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.
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.
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
Also available in paperback.