"Ellie Rhee" by Septimus Winner, a song about the Tennessee River from Songs of Rivers of America, p. 131:
[alternate link to sound file: click here]
The authors and their different approaches to the assignment
Editor Constance Lindsay Skinner wanted the Rivers of America books to create a popular literature reflecting the regional history of America. Although she died after editing the first six volumes her selection of authors and the freedom she gave them was integral to the success of the series. Cecile Hulse Matschat was one the original six authors and her Suwannee River: Strange Green Land remains a best-selling volume. Matschat, a botanist, created a novel-like narrative focused on a well-known botanist who visits the swamp folk inhabiting the Florida river. Matschat's book is a riot of natural history writing and her parallel themes of scientific knowledge versus folk knowledge would reappear in later volumes.
Subsequent editors continued the policy of giving the writers free reign. The eccentric Edgar Lee Masters produced an entry on the Sangamon that told the story of the surrounding county through an elegiac remembrance of family stories. Wilma Dykeman's portrait of The French Broad managed to cover Civil War history, natural history, and biographies of African American and women entrepeneurs. August Derleth's The Wisconsin: River of a Thousand Isles included an essay on the songs and culture of the rivermen who worked the timber industry. Derleth also provided a bibliographical essay on Frederick Jackson Turner. Turner's work in American history inspired Skinner, and his correspondence encouraged the series. The Rivers of America series is often remembered for the 1947 volume The Everglades: River of Grass. Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a reporter for the Miami Herald, combined natural history and investigative reporting to create a landmark in American environmental writing.
-- Written by Matthew Paris
Derleth, August. The Wisconsin: River of a Thousand Isles. Illustrated by John Steuart Curry. Rivers of America. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1942.
Douglas, Marjory Stoneman. The Everglades: River of Grass. Illustrated by Robert Fink. Rivers of America. New York: Rinehart, 1947.
Dykeman, Wilma. The French Broad. Illustrated by Douglas Gorsline. Rivers of America. New York: Rinehart, 1955.
Fitzgerald, Carol. The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography. New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 2001.
Masters, Edgar Lee. The Sangamon. Illustrated by Lynd Ward. Rivers of America. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1942.
Matschat, Cecile Hulse. Suwannee River: Strange Green Land. Illustrated by Alexander Key. Rivers of America. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1938.
Song of Rivers of America. Edited by Carl Carmer; music arranged by Dr. Albert Sirmay. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1942.