James Larkin Pearson1879-1981
Poet Laureate of
North Carolina
Newspaper Editor
Printer
James Larkin Pearson1879-1981
James Larkin Pearson was born September
13, 1879, in a small cabin atop Berry Mountain
in Wilkes County to William and Lou...
The Early Years
In early boyhood, James Larkin Pearson was
determined to become a poet. He had little formal
education, an...
“Many of my poems were composed as I went
about my work on the farm. I always carried my
notebook and pencil to the field ...
According to Pearson, he composed his
first poem at age 4, while out one cold
winter day with his father.
"My fingers and ...
Pearson’s Education
"Had only a very moderate liking for history and
geography, and couldn't endure arithmetic at all. Lik...
Newspaper Publishing
Pearson left the family farm at age 21 and found
work with R. Don Laws on The Yellow Jacket, a
newspa...
The Yellow Jacket was distributed
nationally and was well known for its
radical political views.
In 1910 Pearson started his own
paper, The Fool-Killer.
The Fool-Killer was sold nationwide,
and at the height of its popularity
boasted 50,000 subscriptions.
Pearson described his paper as “a bundle of
literary dynamite that will shake the rotten
foundations of society . . . It i...
Download and read The Fool-Killer on the
James Larkin Pearson research guide:
http://researchguides.wilkescc.edu/pearson
.
By 1912 The Fool-Killer’s circulation increased enough
that Pearson had to expand his printing operation. He
purchased the...
Throughout his printing and newspaper publishing
career Pearson continued writing poetry. He self
published several volume...
The literary world took notice of Pearson’s poems
after 1929, when writer Upton Sinclair featured his
work in an article i...
After 1924, Pearson’s work was published in many newspapers
and anthologies of poetry. In 1953 Governor William B. Umstead...
Wilkes Community College
James Larkin Pearson Library
The James Larkin Pearson Library opened at Wilkes
Community College after Pearson’s death in 1981.
The mission of the libr...
The Wilkes Community College Pardue Library and
Learning Resources Center hopes you will enjoy
touring the James Larkin Pe...
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James larkin pearson

  1. 1. James Larkin Pearson1879-1981
  2. 2. Poet Laureate of North Carolina Newspaper Editor Printer James Larkin Pearson1879-1981
  3. 3. James Larkin Pearson was born September 13, 1879, in a small cabin atop Berry Mountain in Wilkes County to William and Louise McNeill Pearson.
  4. 4. The Early Years In early boyhood, James Larkin Pearson was determined to become a poet. He had little formal education, and early in life he worked on the family farm and did some carpentry.
  5. 5. “Many of my poems were composed as I went about my work on the farm. I always carried my notebook and pencil to the field with me, and as I trudged between the plow-handles in the hot sunshine, my mind was busy working out a poem."
  6. 6. According to Pearson, he composed his first poem at age 4, while out one cold winter day with his father. "My fingers and my toes, My feet and my hands, Are jist as cold As you ever see'd a man's"
  7. 7. Pearson’s Education "Had only a very moderate liking for history and geography, and couldn't endure arithmetic at all. Liked my old Fourth Reader very well, because it had some poetry in it, was set down as a hopeless case, who there was no use trying to educate. Quit school entirely at 16, having never been in school more than 12 months, from first to last." © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  8. 8. Newspaper Publishing Pearson left the family farm at age 21 and found work with R. Don Laws on The Yellow Jacket, a newspaper printed at Moravian Falls. Pearson was a daily columnist, and spent two years in Washington, DC as a correspondent.
  9. 9. The Yellow Jacket was distributed nationally and was well known for its radical political views.
  10. 10. In 1910 Pearson started his own paper, The Fool-Killer.
  11. 11. The Fool-Killer was sold nationwide, and at the height of its popularity boasted 50,000 subscriptions.
  12. 12. Pearson described his paper as “a bundle of literary dynamite that will shake the rotten foundations of society . . . It is salted with wit, peppered with humor, and seasoned with sarcasm.”
  13. 13. Download and read The Fool-Killer on the James Larkin Pearson research guide: http://researchguides.wilkescc.edu/pearson .
  14. 14. By 1912 The Fool-Killer’s circulation increased enough that Pearson had to expand his printing operation. He purchased the equipment shown above, including a CB Cottrell & Sons printing press (right).
  15. 15. Throughout his printing and newspaper publishing career Pearson continued writing poetry. He self published several volumes and published individual poems in his newspapers.
  16. 16. The literary world took notice of Pearson’s poems after 1929, when writer Upton Sinclair featured his work in an article in The New York Times.
  17. 17. After 1924, Pearson’s work was published in many newspapers and anthologies of poetry. In 1953 Governor William B. Umstead appointed him the second poet laureate of North Carolina, a position he held until his death in 1981.
  18. 18. Wilkes Community College James Larkin Pearson Library
  19. 19. The James Larkin Pearson Library opened at Wilkes Community College after Pearson’s death in 1981. The mission of the library is to preserve Pearson’s legacy as a printer and a poet and to provide access to his publications, writings, and correspondence.
  20. 20. The Wilkes Community College Pardue Library and Learning Resources Center hopes you will enjoy touring the James Larkin Pearson Library exhibits. If you have questions about the Pearson Library, please call the WCC Pardue Library at 838-6114. For more information visit http://researchguides.wilkescc.edu/pearson.

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