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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Remembering Southern Illinois’ own H. Allen Smith

  • There was a room full of laughter and wide eyes Monday at the Eldorado Memorial Library.
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  • There was a room full of laughter and wide eyes Monday at the Eldorado Memorial Library.
    In a presentation concerning H. Allen Smith, a local author from McLeansboro, Ryan P. Nelson, successfully immortalized the cynical essence of several of the author's books. Smith was popular in between 1940 and 1960, especially during wartime. One of Smith's novels, “Rhubarb,” actually received a motion picture interpretation starring Ray Milland. Not only did Smith have over 4 million copies of his works published, but he is also rumored to be one of the contestants in the first chili cook-off. Although Smith died in 1976, many of his books are still in circulation, and Nelson is still fighting to keep his memory alive.
    Originally from McLeansboro himself, Ryan P. Nelson has taken quite the interest in Smith.
    “I had never heard of him before a friend referred me to a novel of his,” says Nelson. Since then, Nelson has read several of his novels, and researched the author extensively. Although the Smith is a local author, very few residents of Southern Illinois have read even one of over 30 books he penned, and Nelson is attempting to change that.
    “Let's keep his memory alive. He's such a character. It would be different if he was boring,” Nelson stated. “His books are all over Southern Illinois, and I'm sure any librarian would be happy to let any of you check one out.”
    The Eldorado Memorial Library has several of Smith's works available to the public.

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