Rivers of America

Husband and wife collaborations

Two titles in the Rivers of America series resulted from the collaborations of spouses. In 1945, Anne Benson Fisher wrote The Salinas, which was illustrated by her husband Walter Kenrick Fisher. Both volumes of The Tennessee (volume 1 in 1946 and volume 2 in 1948) were written by Donald Davidson and illustrated by his wife Theresa Sherrer Davidson.

Anne Benson Fisher and Walter Kenrick Fisher

Anne and Walter Fisher
Anne and Walter Fisher
Courtesy A.K. Fisher papers,
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

Anne Benson was born February 1, 1898, on Walter Fisher's twentieth birthday. Anne earned a nursing degree and worked as a bacteriologist. She moved out West to Salinas, California to establish and operate a clinical laboratory when she was 22 years old. It was there that she met zoology professor Walter Fisher.

Walter had started out his young adulthood torn between following in his father's footsteps as a scientist and becoming an artist. He ultimately chose a scientific career, but he also illustrated his many scholarly publications (for example, see Birds of Laysan and the Leeward Islands, Hawaiian Group).

Anne didn't begin writing books until after her marriage to Walter. Her first book, a satire about college life, was followed by twelve more including a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson, Indian folklore and historical fiction about California, marriage advice books, and novels about women bacteriologists. The Salinas: Upside-down River is the Fishers' only author-illustrator collaboration.

Donald Davidson and Theresa Sherrer Davidson

Donald Davidson was born and raised in Tennessee. He taught English at Vanderbilt University for nearly fifty years. Donald got his start as a poet by co-founding the Vanderbilt-based group The Fugitives in 1922, which published an eponymous poetry magazine.

Theresa Sherrer was born in Ohio in 1893, a couple of months after Donald Davidson. After receiving her M.A., Theresa moved to Tennessee to teach at Martin College. She met and married Donald. Theresa earned a law degree from Vanderbilt at about the same time Donald founded The Fugitives.

During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Donald and others from The Fugitives developed a Southern literary aesthetic and cultural reform theory. This group was called the Agrarians. A central Agrarian thesis was that the positive relationship between art and nature was being threatened by industrialization, and that the Old South was a socio-economic model more conducive to art production.

Excerpt from The Salinas: Upside-down River, written and illustrated by the Fishers.

Excerpt from volume 2 of The Tennessee, written and illustrated by the Davidsons.

Excerpt from The Salinas Excerpt from The Tennessee

-- Written by Mary Rose


Davidson, Donald. The Tennessee. Illustrated by Theresa Sherrer Davidson. 2 vols. Rivers of America. New York: Rinehart, 1946-1948.

Davidson, Donald and Theresa Sherrer Davidson. For a list of other books by Donald Davidson featuring illustrations by Theresa Sherrer Davidson available at Lovejoy Library, click here.

Fisher, Anne B. The Salinas: Upside-down River. Illustrated by Walter K. Fisher. Rivers of America. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1945.

Fisher, Walter K. Birds of Laysan and the Leeward Islands, Hawaiian Group. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1903.

Fitzgerald, Carol. The Rivers of America: A Descriptive Bibliography. New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 2001.

Young, Thomas Daniel, and M. Thomas Inge. Donald Davidson. New York: Twayne, 1971.