Uncle Josh’s Punkin Centre Stories:
Cal Stewart as Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur
By Allan Sutton
Scattered among the familiar Uncle Josh stories are rare autobiographical glimpses, not meant to be taken too seriously ("The author was born in Virginia, on a little patch of land so poor, we had to fertilize it to make brick"), and a selection of Stewart's unrecorded poetry. He drew on his early days working the Western railroads in "Yosemite Jim, or, A Tale of the Great White Death":
tongue-in-cheek autobiography, from Uncle Josh Weathersby's "Punkin
from Uncle Josh Weathersby's "Punkin Centre" Stories
editions were soon selling well enough that commercial publisher began
to take notice, and in 1905 the Chicago firm of Thomas & Thompson
acquired publication rights to Uncle
Josh Weathersby's "Punkin Centre" Stories. The
company reused the original Regan printing plates and initially added
some advertising at the back for its popular Peck's Bad Boy series.
editions appeared from time to time, all printed from the Regan plates
and maintaining the identical pagination. Regan even issued its own version
in 1908, with a blue cover. A replica edition, printed in the 1980s, contains
additional material not found in the original and is easily distinguished
from the authentic printings.
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