Title Reviewed:
A Bibliography of George Ade, 1866-1944

Author Reviewed:
Dorothy Ritter Russo

John T. Flanagan


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 201-202

Article Type:
Book Review

Download Source:

A Bibliography of George Ade, 1866-1944. By Dorothy Ritter Russo. (Indianapolis, Indiana Historical Society, 1947, pp. xv, 314. Illustrations and index.)

In the year of George Ade's death the Committee on Bibliography of the Indiana Historical Society sponsored the publication of a bibliography of James Whitcomb Riley. Under the editorship of Anthony J. Russo and Dorothy R. Russo, this volume appeared in handsome format and became immediately not only a useful literary tool but a collector's item. Now, three years later, Mrs. Russo has edited a bibliography of George Ade which in appearance and general value rivals its predecessor.

To be of maximum utility a bibliography must meet several requirements. It should be clearly arranged, consistently presented, meticulously checked. Chronological order should be maintained within each section, works about as well as works by the author should be accurately listed, and an overall index should be included. It should go without saying that clear typography on good paper stock adds to the merit of the completed volume.

On almost all these counts Mrs. RUSSO'S volume is a superlative achievement. Physically attractive, it is both detailed and comprehensive. A section of 154 pages is given over to descriptions of George Ade first editions, and a section of 100 pages to the periodicals in which Ade items first appeared. Other sections list reprint editions of Ade's works and enumerate books and periodical articles containing discussions of Ade. Conventional bibliographical practice probably justifies the omission of any biographical data, but one wonders if a short sketch of Ade's life with important dates included would not augment the value of such a book as this.

To the reader who knows George Ade only as the man who discovered a new kind of fable or as the writer of several comic operas which won considerable popularity almost half a century ago, the number of Ade's published volumes will come as a surprise. Hardly a year passed between 1894 and 1940 which did not see the appearance of one or more Ade books. The editor has faithfully chronicled all these publications and has abstained from distinguishing the few durable items from the many ephemeral works. The reprinting of Ade's stories has not been followed as carefully, however, as the compilation of other sections of the bibliography. Thus there is no mention of the appearance of "Effie Whittlesy" in The Bedside Book of Famous American Stories compiled by Angus Burrell and Bennett Cerf in 1936, nor of the inclusion by E. B. White and Katharine S. White or three Ade fables in their Subtreasury of American Humor in 1941.

The index too shows certain aberrations. In general it is full and adequate, but there is a strange tendency to list some persons under their given names and again more fully under their last names. Newton Booth Tarkington, listed under "N," has one item following, but "Tarkington, Booth," has eight entries. John T. McCutcheon, listed under "J," has two entries following, but "McCutcheon, John T." has eighteen, including the first two. James Corbett, Joe Cannon, and John Ringling are all listed under "J" as well as under their last names. "Crane, William H." is followed by two entries, whereas "William H. Crane" gets only one. Such indexing is probably neither harmful nor bothersome, but it does seem eccentric.

The book suggests another remark in which the editor will probably concur. Ade merits more scholarly attention than he has received. Only one full-length biography has so far appeared, and it is more accolade than evaluation. There have been few serious studies of Ade in the periodicals even if one adds John Abbott Clark's appreciation of the fables in the South Atlantic Quarterly for October, 1947, which probably appeared too late for inclusion here. Ade is not even mentioned in Lewis Leary's checklist of articles on American literature which appeared in the periodicals from 1920 to 1945 (Durham, North Carolina, 1947). The Russo bibliography then, a monument to George Ade the man, indicates the need for further investigation of Ade the writer.

John T. Flanagan University of Illinois

Published by theĀ Indiana University Department of History.