Fox, John Jr.: The Trail of the Lonesome Pine
(researched by Michael Bernier)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

John Fox, Jr. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908.
Copyright: Charles Scribner's Sons

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

First American edition published in trade cloth binding

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

223 leaves, [5] pp. 1-6[2]7-14[2]15-220[2]221-260[2] 261-318[2]319-344[2]345-416[2]417-422

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

Includes publisher advertisement for other books by John Fox, Jr. in front fly leave. No editor or introduction. Book is dedicated to F.S. Research revealed the dedication to be to Fox's wife, Fritzi Scheff.

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

Black and white plates facing title page, p. 6, 14, 220, 260, 318, 344, 416 are illustrated by F.C. Yohn. Drawings include legends. A list of illustrations is located in front plates.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

Readability is excellent with large margins making the book easy to read. There is some staining on pages. Illustrations include legends in smaller type. Chapters are numbered but without titles. First word in chapter upper case letters with first letter bold. 90R. Book size: 186mm. by 122mm.; Size of text: 136mm. by 84mm.

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

The book is on wove paper with paper yellowed over time but still in very good condition. Wear is even throughout. Illustrations are on glossy stock.

11 Description of binding(s)

Trade cloth binding, dotted-line grain, medium red yellow stamping. Includes gold leaf design on both sides of title.
Transcription of front cover: THE TRAIL OF | THE LONESOME | PINE | [By] JOHN FOX [Jr.] Transcription of the spine: THE | TRAIL | OF THE | LONESOME | PINE | [By] |JOHN FOX | [Jr.] | SCRIBNERS |

12 Transcription of title page

The Trail of the | Lonesome Pine | BY | JOHN FOX, JR. | [Illustrated by F.C. Yohn] | CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS | NEW YORK | 1908
Title page verso transcription: COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY | CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS | Published October, 1908

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

Papers of John Fox are held at the University of Kentucky, Duke University, and The University of Virginia.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

Inscribed on front fly leaf: Frederick A. Hemphill.| 2/2/'09

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

Scribner originial edition published 1908. A new uniform edition was published by Scribner in 1909. 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914, and 1937 copyright dates do not appear to be unique editions.

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

Three printings of the first edition noted. The first edition consisted of 100,000 copies. The first two printings have a Scribner Press device on the copyright page. The third did not. No copies without the printer's device were examined.

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

The London (Constable) edition, 1908. 1917 copyright date does not appear to be a separate edition. Grosset and Dunlap editions, 1908, 1912, 1920, 1923 (with scenes from the photoplay); 1936 and 1952 copyright dates do not appear to be unique editions. Buccaneer Books, 1976. Amereon Ltd., 1976. Ace Books, 1981. University of Kentucky Press, 1984. Lightyear Press, 1996.

6 Last date in print?

Still in print. 1984 University of Kentucky Press edition and 1996 Lightyear Press edition available.

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

1,285,000 according to Hackett's 70 Years of Best Sellers.

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)


9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

Ads were placed in Publishers Weekly on October 17, October 24, November 14, November 21, and November 28, 1908. Ads included scenes from the novel and excerpts of reviews from The New York Times, Boston Herald, and Phila. North American. Also included in an ad for Holiday Books by publisher Scribner's Sons.

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

In addition to being advertised throughout Publisher's Weekly toward the end of 1908 both individually and as part of ads for Scribner's Books, ads were also located in The New York Times in October 1908.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

Stage version by Eugene Walter opened January 29, 1912 at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York.
Music by Harry Carroll, words by Ballard Macdonald, 1913.
Film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, 1916, with Charlotte Walker, Thomas Meighan, and Earle Foxe. Silent, black and white.
Film directed by Will M. Ritchey, 1923, Paramount, with Mary Miles Minter, Antonio Moreno, Edwin Brady, and Beulah Baines.
Film directed by Henry Hathaway, 1936, with Fred MacMurray, Henry Fonda, and Sylvia Sidney. First feature to be filmed outdoors in Technicolor. Academy Award nomination for best original song, "A Melody From the Sky."
Play in three acts, written by Alice Chadwicke (pseudonym for Wilbur Brown), based on the novel, 1937, 117 p., paperback 75c.
Song, Trail of the Lonesome Pine in Laurel and Hardy's film Way Out West, 1937.
Plays performed each summer at the Trail of the Lonesome Pine Drama Theatre, Big Stone Gap, Va, since 1964.
Numerous other play performances.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A


14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

Parts originally published in Scribner's Magazine

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

John Fox, Jr. was a popular American novelist during the first decade of the 20th Century. His books focused primarily on life in rural Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Two of his books, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1908) and The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come (1903), were extremely successful. Fox's other books include A Cumberland Vendetta and Other Stories (1895), Hell-fer-Sartain and Other Stories (1897), The Kentuckians (1897) , A Mountain Europa (1899), Crittenden (1900), Blue-grass and Rhododendron (1901), Christmas Eve on Lonesome and Other Stories (1904), Following the Sun Flag: A Vain Pursuit Through Manchuria (1905), A Knight of the Cumberland (1906), The Heart of the Hills (1913), In Happy Valley (1917), and Erskine Dale, Pioneer (1920). Fox was born on December 16, 1863 at Stony Point, Kentucky, the son of John W. and Minerva Carr Fox. He was educated by his father, a teacher at Stony Point Academy, and attended Transylvania College briefly before attending Harvard University, graduating in 1883. He entered Columbia Law School before moving into a career in journalism in New York, working for both the New York Times and the Sun. He returned to Kentucky in 1885 and joined his father and brother in the mining business in Tennessee. In 1890, Fox moved to Big Stone Gap, Virginia and began to write fiction while engaging in several failed business ventures. He gave public lectures to raise money and during one such lecture met Theodore Roosevelt who later invited Fox to give readings at the White House. Fox also wrote for Harper's Weekly and for Scribner's as a war correspondent. Fox's writing focused on Appalachia and specifically on Big Stone Gap, Virginia, a town that many expected would become an industrial area of the south. Like Fox himself, his novels reflect a struggle between rural life and a desire for sophisticated society. Fox's friends included numerous authors, journalists, and diplomats. In 1908, Fox married Fritzi Scheff, a popular Austrian Opera singer and former star of the Metropolitan Opera. Fox and Scheff moved to Big Stone Gap. The marriage was a turbulent one and the couple divorced in 1913. Fox then traveled through Europe before returning to Big Stone Gap. He contracted pneumonia, died on July 8, 1919, and was buried at Paris, Kentucky. His legacy lives on with the John Fox, Jr. festival held annually in Big Stone Gap, which also houses a museum devoted to his life and writings. References: Biography and Geneology Master Index, Volume 3. 1980. Detroit: Gale Research Co. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume Nine, pp. 25-27. 1981. Detroit: Gale Research Co. Holman, Harriet R. "Interlude: Scenes from John Fox's Courtship of Fritzi Scheff, as Reported by Richard Harding Davis." The Southern Literary Journal, 7 (Spring 1975): 77-87. Kurynny, Justin. "John Fox, Jr." (March 25, 1999) National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume 14, p. 90. 1917. New York: James T. White and Co. Who Was Who in America, Volume 1, 1897-1942. 1942. Chicago: The A.N. Marquis Co.

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine was well received in the years following its 1908 debut. Near simultaneous publication of the book in the U.S. by Charles Scribner's Sons and in the U.K. by Constable offered consid
erable attention. Ads were placed throughout Publishers' Weekly and The New York Times shortly after publication and the work appeared in lists of recommended holiday reading by the end of 1908. The first three printings in 1908 were sold out within seve
ral months (Hackett, pp. 104). Several printings in the years following publication evidence the continued popularity of the work as did its appearance in best seller lists for 1908 where the book was the third best seller and in 1909 when the book was s
till the fifth best seller (Hackett, pp. 104, 105). Large ads were placed in both Publishers Weekly and The New York Times in the months following release.
Reviews written in 1908 in The Nation, The New York Times, and American Library Association Booklist were examined. The reviewers uniformly praised the plot and story line. The theme of the book, rich urban man moving to the county and falling in love wi
th an unsophisticated girl, who later saves him from a downfall, appealed to reviewers. "Here is a romance of the Southern mountains, every page of which is delightful reading, every one of the characters in which ? though some are dare-devil outlaws- ?
is a welcome new acquaintance." (The New York Times). A.L.A. Booklist praised the lead character's recognition of the innate qualities of the "country girl," while The Nation commented on the book as, " melodrama of so high a grade, so joyous an enthusia
sm, and so compelling an interest as to give its reader an hour of uncritical pleasure." The realism of Fox's portrayal of the mountain communities and its people was noted. Ironically, none of the reviews examined discussed the parallel to Fox's own li
fe as a country man who left his mountain home to get an education and married a sophisticated opera star who he relocated back to Appalachia. Contemporaneous reviews were also written in Bookman, The Independent, Outlook, The Review of Reviews, The Phi
ladelphia North American, and the Cleveland Leader. Reviews were common in the months following publication then die out quickly. The work moved into film quickly and gained increased popularity as a film, generating several songs based on the story lin
e. Further analysis of the evolution of the book into film and its increased popularity is discussed below in subsequent reception history.
American Library Association Booklist, Vol. 4, p.268. November, 1908.
Book Review Digest, 1908 through 1913.
Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals, 1886-1974. 1980. Arlington, Va.: Carrollton Press.
Hackett, Alice Payne. 70 Years of Best Sellers 1895-1965. 1967. New York: Bowker.
Nation, November 12, 1908, p. 466.
New York Times Book Review, October 17, 1908, p. 570.

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Little in the way of current reviews or feedback remains for the Trail of the Lonesome Pine. Exceptions include annual plays performed each summer at the Trail of the Lonesome Pine Drama Theatre in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Reviews of the book die dow
n after 1908-1909. The book was then adapted for film and was produced in 1923 and 1936. Both the 1923 and 1936 films were reviewed in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Literary Digest, The New Yorker, Time, and Variety. A review of
both the 1916 and 1923 production and 2 reviews of the 1936 production were examined.
New York Times Book Reviews of the 1916 and 1923 films focused on the lead actors and actresses and not the actual story line. Both these reviews praised the performance of the female lead roles, Charlotte Walker in 1916 and Mary Miles Minter in 1923. T
he 1936 production generated dozens of reviews and an Academy Award for best song. Henry Fonda and Fred MacMurray starred in the film early in their careers. The film was also the first made in Technicolor, a production technique that added color to no
t just the people but to the scenery and background so crucial to The Trail of the Lonesome Pine set in the mountains of the South. The color was the focus of reviews in The New York Times and The New Yorker and was uniformly praised as a new technique t
hat reviewers hoped to see in later films. The New Yorker gave full credit of the film not to John Fox or the cast but to the woman who coordinated the color photography.
The development of the book to film markedly changed the focus of reception. While the 1908 book was praised for the story line, the film performances were praised for the abilities of the lead roles and, in 1936, the appearance of Technicolor for the fi
rst time. John Fox, who died in 1919, could have predicted neither of these later developments. Both these films resulted in new editions of the book, both in 1923 and 1936. The films generated both songs and an edition of the book adapted for stage in
1937. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, first published in 1908, gained in popularity in the decades following publication in new ways that Mr. Fox could not have predicted.
New York Times, February 14, 1916, p. 11.
New York Times, March 20, 1923, p. 24.
New York Times, February 20, 1936, p. 23.
New Yorker, February 29, 1936, p. 51.
Salem, James M. Guide to Critical Reviews and Screenplays. 1971. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press.

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

Critical Essay: The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox, Jr. Introduction The Trail of the Lonesome Pine by John Fox, Jr. enjoyed considerable popularity in the few years following its publication in 1908. The book was the third best seller in 1908 and the fifth best seller in 1909 (Hackett, pp. 104, 105). Reviews were positive and the money from the book helped Mr. Fox get out of debt that resulted from disastrous business ventures (Kurynny). The first three printings sold out quickly and the book was published 19 more times in both new editions and reprintings. The book is still in print today. The novel was made into a play, a feature film, and generated several songs. Many factors contributed to the popularity the work enjoyed. Mr. Fox's publisher, Charles Scribner's Sons, was a preeminent publisher, engaging in extensive advertising and working closely with the author to maintain a close working relationship and to gauge public interest in a future work. The genre of the work, part romance and part western, was popular at the time. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly for the Trail of the Lonesome Pine, is the transition of the novel into other media. The emergence of the film, play, and songs gave the novel a life of its own outside the four corners of the printed book. This essay will examine three factors that contributed to the success of the book: the importance of the publisher and marketing efforts, the genre of the work, and the transition to other media. Other factors no doubt helped make the book a success, such as the popularity of the author's other works and the universal theme of the book, among others, but are outside the scope of this essay. Choice of publisher Charles Scribner's Sons was a prominent New York firm that published works of popular authors such as Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway (Tebbel, p. 224). The publishing house, like many others at the time, worked closely with authors to develop strong working relationships. Fox was part of the firm's stable of authors after leaving Harpers early in his career (Tebbel, p. 201). Scribners also had several magazines that carried its name. Scribners promoted its authors and advertised its books extensively. Ads for The Trail of the Lonesome Pine appeared in Publishers' Weekly throughout the end of 1908 individually and as part of ads for Scribner's other current works. The advertising campaign coincided with dozens of reviews written by major newspapers throughout the country, including The New York Times, The Boston Herald, and the Philadelphia North American. Publishers routinely spent large sums of money sending review copies to newspapers and magazines throughout the country to generate additional publicity (Sheehan, p. 181). Scribners also knew that timing was important to the sale of a book and published Fox's novel in October just before the Christmas buying period when books were often purchased as "holiday souvenirs." In 1910, 35% of the total output of books came during the 6 weeks prior to Christmas while another 30% fell in the weeks following the holiday (Sheehan, p. 175). The good business sense of Scribners in timing the release of the book and advertising it effectively helped place the novel on best seller lists for both 1908 and 1909. Genre Popularity and interest in the genre of the work also contributed to its popularity. Fox's novel was considered a sentimental romance. The theme of the novel, a rich urban man falling in love with a poor country girl, appeared at a time when the U.S. was moving from being a rural nation to a more urban one. The struggle between rural and urban ways was one that many bookreaders could appreciate at the turn of the century. Romance novels were popular and can be found in bestseller lists at the time (Hackett). Ads in Publishers Weekly toward the end of 1908 included many ads for books showing couples embracing. The illustrations in The Trail of the Lonesome Pine emphasized the romance between the two main characters. Requests for copies of these illustrations and offers to buy the original drawings came from all parts of the country. Fox had an oil painting made of the books' most popular illustration, the heroine standing at the foot of a pine tree, and presented this to his future wife (Tebbel, p. 666). While originally a romance, the novel emerged as a western as the result of films made in both 1916 and especially 1936. The New Yorker cited the scenery more than either Fox's novel or the abilities of the film's actors and actresses as the reason for the success of the 1936 film, the first feature to be made in Technicolor. The western is a uniquely American genre and is intricately tied to Hollywood and filmmaking. Hollywood filmmakers discovered that the West was still alive in the first half of this century and made films that captivated moviegoers (Hardy, p. x). While Fox's novel does not end up on bestseller lists as a western, the films made from his novels are listed as westerns. Westerns were popular in the 1930s and contributed to the later success of the '36 film. Transition to other media Perhaps the most interesting development in the history of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine is the evolution from a print novel to a film, play, and song title. Cecil B. DeMille put the novel into film in 1916 and a later major feature in 1936 starring Henry Fonda received critical acclaim. The novel was adapted for stage and performed first in 1912 and countless times since. A song from the 1936 film won an Academy Award and other songs carrying the title of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine were produced, including one featured in another popular film, Laurel and Hardy's Way Out West, in 1937. Plays have been performed each summer since 1964 at the Lonesome Pine Drama Theatre in Big Stone Gap, Virginia (Dictionary of Literary Biography, p. 27). John Fox and even his publisher could probably not have predicted in 1908 that the most enduring legacy of his novel would be via other media. While his book remains in print, references to the novel's title in database and Internet searches yield countless hits for plays, songs, and references to the film. Few references to the original book were located and no current reviews of his book could be found. Many factors contributed to this development. First, Fox should be credited with writing a book adaptable to film and stage. The narrative form, storytelling approach, and the writing of outdoor scenes that employed cinematic techniques were all part of the novel. Like Fox, Charles Dickens wrote novels with an eye to the "camera," crafting scenes with ultra-sharp focus and clarity, achieving the literary equivalents of close-ups, long-shots, and aerial perspectives all when photography itself was in its infancy (Tibbetts and Welsh, p. xv). The novel as a narrative form can be traced back to authors such as Henry Fielding and Daniel DeFoe (Tibbetts and Welsh, p. xiii). It is this narrative form that makes a novel adaptable to film. The 1936 film was the first film made using Technicolor and featured an emerging star, Henry Fonda. Fox and his original publisher could not have predicted either of these events. Reviews of the '36 film focus primarily on the use of color and secondarily on the performances of the lead roles. Little comment or credit is given to Fox and his novel. Henry Fonda later became an American Hollywood institution, generating interest in his earlier works. Songs from both this film and the use of the book's title in other songs enhance the enduring legacy of Fox's novel. Conclusion John Fox's The Trail of the Lonesome Pine received no literary prizes nor did any other of Fox's novels. The caliber of the writing is seldom discussed. The writing is good, albeit not exemplary. It is not unlike other novels at the time. The book sold well, in part due to the influence and effective marketing of the publisher. The romance genre was popular at the time and the book's illustrations helped capture the reader's attention. The novel would probably not be in print today had not successful films been made from it ? films that, by pure coincidence, employed new techniques and actors that would draw the attention of reviewers. The history of this book shows us that the book is not just a printed document with four corners, a certain typeface, and good quality paper that may or may not have yellowed over time. The book has a life outside the pages in its story. This story can "jump out" of the book and move in directions never expected, as was the case with The Trail of the Lonesome Pine which is now more commonly thought of as a film, song, or play still performed each summer in the aptly named Trail of the Lonesome Pine Drama Theatre. References Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 9, pp. 25-27. 1981. Detroit: Gale Research Co. Fox, John Jr. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. 1908. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Hackett, Alice Payne. 70 Years of Best Sellers 1895-1965. 1967. New York: Bowker. Hardy, Phil, editor. The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: The Western. New York: Overlook Press. Kurynny, Justin. "John Fox, Jr." ( 25, 1999) New Yorker, February 29, 1936, p. 51. Sheehan, Donald. This Was Publishing: Chronicle of the Book Trade in the Gilded Age. 1952. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press. Tebbel, John. History of Book Publishing in the United States. Vol. II. 1975. New York: Bowker. Tibbetts, John C. and James M Welsh. The Encyclopedia of Novels into Film. 1998. New York: Facts on File, Inc.

Supplemental Material

Front fly inscription

Ad in front pages of 1st edition

List of illustrations 1st edition

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