"The green distances of the land were gashed and scarred with wandering roads lumpy and deep-rutted from the heavy wheels that had groaned and strained through the winter mud. These roads came from the outlying regions, springing up, like casual streams, marking themselves more and more deeply in the soil as they moved between rail fences, widening as they wound toward the county seat. Scattered in their beginnings, they drew nearer to each other, converged and straightened as they approached the town." (from Kings Row, the opening lines)
In my travels around the 'net, I've discovered that there is no Web page devoted to the Missouri novelist Henry Bellamann, author of King's Row (1940). Since I wrote my Master's thesis on that novel, I feel duty-bound to make sure that Bellamann gets his place in cyber-space.
This project was begun on August 12, 1998. Today is November 19, 1998, and I think that it really is getting into some shape, especially with the very welcome graphic and text contributions from Dr. Harry Bayne. If you share an interest in Henry Bellamann, I'd love to hear from you. Comments and suggestions about the page are very welcome. E-mail me at LRampey@panix.com. All work here, unless otherwise credited, is my own, as are any errors or omissions. And if I've unintentionally violated any copyright, please let me know so that I can make it right.
(Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1928.)
LC CALL NUMBER: PS3503.E442 U6 1928
Some Unusual Facts About Henry Bellamann
Bellamann's first profession was music. He was a music professor, a dean, and served on the Julliard Music Foundation.
He was a member of the New York Academy of Science (psychology division) and a president of the Babcock Society of Psychological Research -- not surprising if one has read Kings Row.
In Columbia, SC, (my husband's hometown), Bellamann was the literary editor for the newspaper the State. (See also Dr. Harry Bayne's piece on Bellamann's SC years.)
Ronald Reagan titled his 1965 autobiography after his biggest line in the film version of Kings Row: "Where's the Rest of Me?"
A search of telephone directories on the Internet found only one "Bellamann" in the whole United States -- a person in Hawaii whose first name is Bellamann. Does anyone have any information on any other Bellamanns or know why the name seems to be so rare?
There is an entry for Kings Row in the original 1971 edition of Magill's Masterplots and in the 1976 revised edition (with some added commentary), but it was dropped from the 1996 "revised second edition."
Critical Studies of Henry Bellamann's Work
Bayne, Harry M., ed. "Henry Bellamann's 'Madame Arndt.'" University of Mississippi Studies in English 10 (1992): 204-12.
Bayne, Harry M., and Benjamin Franklin Fisher, IV. "A Neglected Detective Novel: Bellamann's The Gray Man Walks. Mystery FANcier 12, no. 4, (Fall 1990): 3-9.
Bayne, Harry McBrayer. A Critical Study of Henry Bellamann's Life and Work. University of Mississippi, 1990. OCLC Number: 37387224
Bayne, Harry McBrayer. A Life in Letters: The Literary Involvement of Henry Bellamann. Clemson University, 1981. OCLC Number: 8255862
Campbell, Leslie Jean. Henry Bellamann's Kings Row: A Re-Evaluation of a Forgotten Best-Seller. University of Mississippi. OCLC Number: 4108823
Karr, Jay Miles. Autobiography of a Town: A Readers Theater Play in Two Acts Featuring the Kings Row Poems of Henry Bellamann.
Karr, Jay Miles. Introduction (with photos) to Kings Row. Kingdom House, 1997.
Karr, Jay Miles. Introduction (with photos) to Parris Mitchell of Kings Row. Kingdom House, 1986.
Karr, Jay Miles. Rediscovering the Author of Kings Row: The First Bellamann Lecture, Oct. 18th, 1979. Fulton, MO: 1981. OCLC number: 26777964
Kings Row -- the Movie
The 1942 film version of Kings Row directed by Sam Wood is generally highly praised although the mores of the time (and the Hays Office) made it impossible to fully explore some of the novel's major themes.
The film for the most part received favorable contemporary reviews. For good information about the film and the people involved in its production, as well as current TV listings, take a look at its entry in the Internet Movie Database.
Henry Bellamann was born in Fulton, Missouri, in 1882. He was raised and attended college there. Fulton is said to have been Bellamann's model for the fictional town of Kings Row.