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Proving Ground: Richard Harding Davis in the American West
Pomona Faculty Publications and Research
  • Char Miller, Pomona College
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Richard Harding Davis,
  • American West,
  • Southwest,
  • biography
The idea of Texas staggered Richard Harding Davis. That, in any event, is how the youthful managing editor of Harper's Weekly portrayed his response to the Lone Star State after boarding a train in New York City and heading south in January 1892 for a three-month tour of Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. At twenty-eight, already a much-heralded journalist for his investigative reports on Philadelphia's underworld, and his gripping accounts of the devastating Johnstown Flood of 1889, Davis had been editing Harper's tor a year and was eager for a change of pace. A western jaunt, he reasoned, would present a perfect opportunity to escape the grip of a dreary winter, explore new landscapes and warmer climes, and write a series of articles for his puhlisher, which would appear in its other major magazine. Harper's Monthly. They would then be bundled together into The West from a Car-Window {1892], the result of Davis's brief excursion into terra incognita.

Article received the 2005 McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Nonfiction from the Southwest Review.

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© 2005 Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
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Citation Information
Miller, Char. “Proving Ground: Richard Harding Davis in the West,” Southwest Review, 90 (1), 2005, 13-28.