Late Southern writers honored at reception
July 18, 2005

Mary Anne Selber and Martha Mitchell look through the republished works of three local authors from the 19th century during an event at the the Broadmoor branch of Shreve Memorial Library. (Shane Bevel/The Times)

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By Ashley Northington,

About 35 people gathered for an intimate reception honoring three late Southern writers Sunday at the Broadmoor branch of Shreve Memorial Library.

Sarah Hudson Pierce of Ritz Publications republished four works by Sarah Ann Ellis Dorsey, one by William Bradshaw, whose novel takes place in Shreveport, and three by Shreveport native Julia Creswell.

"This is a way for each author to be remembered," Hudson said. "I love the historic value of each book."

Each of the 19th century writers has connections to Louisiana. Dorsey lived in Shreveport during the 1860s and wrote at least three novels that received national acclaim during her life. She also wrote a biography of former Louisiana Gov. Henry W. Allen, for whom Allen Avenue and Allendale are named.

Bradshaw's novel, "Angel Agnes" is about an orphaned girl who comes to Shreveport to be a nurse during the yellow fever epidemic.

Creswell's works include two volumes of poetry, much of it about Shreveport in the late 1800s. Creswell also was the wife of Judge David Creswell, for whom Creswell Street is named.

Houston artist Rose Hohenberger said she had looked for her great aunt's books her entire life. When she found them on the Ritz Web site, she signed up to bring a book Dorsey illuminated and to autograph copies of Dorsey's work at the reception.

"Now that I know where they are I'm going to get them and read them," Hohenberger said.

Former Shreveport Mayor Jim Gardner, Creswell's great-grandson, was at the reception to represent Creswell's work. His autobiography, "Jim Gardner and Shreveport," which covers the first 35 years of his life, also was published by Ritz. Currently, Gardner is working on another autobiography to cover his life since 1959.

"I want to leave something for my family ... like my great-grandmother did," Gardner said.

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