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In March of 1987 it was my privilege to come into contact with James C. Gardner, a former Mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, as a result of having read a beautiful article that he had published in the Reader's Digest at that time. Mr. Gardner has also put his memoirs in a set of two volumes. We have also published his historic set of three volumes of speeches and favorite articles that he has spent a lifetime writing since even before he became Mayor of Shreveport in 1954 down to the present day. Jim's books are favorites in our Complete Ritz Book List. The first two volumes are called Jim Gardner and Shreveport.

Having just had my first book of poetry published in January of 1987, I was at the same time networking to promote my work as a poet and to receive input on how I might grow as an author. I contacted Mr. Gardner and we exchanged work. It was a magical pivotal turning point in my growth as a human being as we have been very close friends since we met in March 1987.

In addition to the rare treat of having Jim Gardner as a special friend, he became my mentor and assisted me in the publication of my work. Having a common bond in our shared interests he loaned me some of his books including one that gripped my attention. It was an original copy of Poems, a book authored by his great grandmother, Julia Pleasants Creswell, born in 1827. She was the grand daughter of Governor Thomas Bibb, of Alabama.

I felt honored to have, in my possession this treasured book of poems, authored by a woman who had suffered so much tragedy in her lifetime, much like myself. Her mother died when she was an adolescent, leaving her in the care of her father and grandparents.

After Julia's marriage to Caddo Judge David Creswell, of Shreveport, Louisiana, her tragedies continued. She lost several of her young children. Her pain enveloped her soul but she struggled by turning her emotion into beautiful poetry including My Birdies, for her children buried under the trees in East Texas.

It became my mission to promote her legacy so in 1988 I collected memorabilia from her relatives across the country, being an avid genealogist myself, and then I presented a week long series to a group at Centenary College in my on-going effort to preserve her legacy.

The seed was germinated. I wanted to republish her works so that she might live on. It was my good fortune to be able to publish a limited edition of Poems, in May, 2002, updating it with pictures and information from eight generations of her past and future generations.

The book was so well received by friends, family and poetry lovers to inspire me to dig deeper. Thus I found two more of her rare books of poetry, which have yet to be seen by most of her descendants.

Those two books include Aphelia and Other Poems, authored by Julia and her cousin, Thomas Bibb Bradley, known as Two Cousins of The South. The book was first published in 1854, the same year that her cousin died at the age of twenty-eight. It was my privilege to find two of these rare books on the inernet.

The next book I found, an original copy, was her second book to be published in her lifetime. It was titled Callamura and it was published in 1868. It is a book that was set during the Civil War and is autobiographical in nature. Callumura has been republished and can be ordered through Ritz Publications.

I have yet to find Abracadabra, which was mentioned in the preface of Poems, first published by her son, James Pleasants Creswell, of Shreveport, Louisiana. If it is out there it will be found and it will find its spotlight to perform.

The book Poems is published in a limited edition, hard-backed, burgundy, gold stamped and may be ordered through Ritz Publications at the following address for $42.95 plus shipping and handling. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. It also can be ordered Online. to:

Ritz Publications
P.O.Box 29182
Shreveport, Louisiana 71149


Two more rare books by Julia Pleasants Creswell have been found and are now available through Ritz Publications;


The titles of those books are:
  • 'Aphelia And Other Poems' by Julia Pleasants Creswell and her cousin, Thomas Bibb Bradley, who died at the age of twenty-eight, in 1854, the same year this book was first published. The cousins were known as Two Cousins of the South. It will be 270 pages in length and will also be hard covered, burgundy, gold-stamped, and will be ready for shipment by late December, 2003, and may be ordered in advance for $49.95 each plus shipping and handling.

  • 'Callamura', a Civil War somewhat biographical novel. It was first published in 1868. It is hard backed with 411 pages, with a burgundy leather-like cover, gold stamped, and updated with family pictures and printed on ivory linen paper and may be ordered for $94.95 each which includes shipping and handling. Allow 6 weeks for delivery.

We now take online orders through PayPal. A secure ordering system which allows anyone with an email address to make an order online. Click here to pay online.

Mail Check or Money Order to:
Ritz Publications
P.O..Box 29182
Shreveport, Louisiana 71149

Ritz Publications has also republished books by Sarah Ann Ellis Dorsey. Her books can be ordered through this site.


Ritz Publications was established in 2002 with the publications of 'Poems', a rare, out-of-print book written by the late Julia Pleasants-Creswell, a native of Huntsville, Alabama and a longtime resident of Shreveport, Louisiana. She was the grand daughter of Thomas Bibb, the second Governor of Alabama.

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