“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” – Will Rogers
Rogers, who appears in my novel And The Wind Whispered as a 15-year-old, was one of America’s most beloved figures. As I’ve been traveling on behalf of the book, I found myself near Claremore, OK, the location of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Thus, a stop there – and at his nearby birthplace home on the Rogers’ Dog Iron Ranch near Lake Oologah – became not only a “possibility” but a “requirement.”
The two sites are amazing, and I learned so much more about Rogers the writer during the visits.
He wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns. His column was carried by more than 600 newspapers and he rarely missed the deadline for turning in a story, saying that among all the things he was doing – and that was a lot – his writing was at the top of his list.
In addition to his columns, he wrote 20 books and did a lot of radio commentary (in addition to a regular radio show) making him one of the nation’s leading writers in the first half of the 20th century.
All told, books and columns combined, Rogers wrote more than 4 million words. Will’s columns reached a potential audience of 40 million readers, and all of his books were major sellers as his written words spread wisdom and reflections that remain timely into the 21st century.
Visiting the Will Rogers home, Dog Iron Ranch near Oologah Lake, OK, and “chatting” with Will (our connection wasn’t all that great) in the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, OK. This portrait depicts a stack of just a few of the newspapers that carried his column, and in his hand is copy he’s prepared and is “calling in” to a transcriber. – Photos by Susan Jorgensen
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