Date of this Version
Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 30, Numbers 1 and 2: 2008 ISSN 0196-7134
Almost from the opening day of the Memorial, discussion began about publishing Rogers’s collected works. An early one-volume effort appeared in 1949. Author and magazine editor Donald Day literally cut and pasted several of Will’s newspaper and other writings—retyped versions, fortunately—to produce the chronologically sequenced The Autobiography of Will Rogers, published by Houghton Mifflin. Other trade books and assorted academic studies came into print over the next several years, but no serious attempt was made to collect and edit his published works.That is, until 1967. In March of that year, Paula Love, the curator of the Memorial since its opening, wrote to Dr. Raymond Knight, the secretary of the museum’s oversight body, the Will Rogers Memorial Commission, asking, “Can you give us any information on the contact you were making in regard to the editing project of Will Rogers[’s] works? Is there some way we could help push it along? Everything is just about ready and if it is going to be done in our life time, we’ll have to get started on it pretty soon.”6 More than twenty-eight years serving the Memorial along with husband and museum manager Bob Love, Paula had been a favorite niece of Will Rogers. He had taken a keen interest in her as a youngster when she was afflicted with infantile paralysis and later had provided the means for her to attend college, where she studied history and prepared to be a teacher. Her bout with polio left her frail for much of her life, but her mind was quick and sharp, honed by constant reading and a passion to maintain the Memorial to her uncle and to sustain his legacy. Not formally trained in museum work, she had virtually lived for the moment that her copious, meticulous work organizing, copying, footnoting, indexing, hole punching, rubber-stamping, and binding the thousands of pages of Rogers’s writings in the Memorial’s collection could finally be assembled in book form.