September 14

Byron Herbert Reece

September 14, 1917 - Young Harris

His writing still evokes the spirit of the north Georgia mountains. 

Novelist and poet Byron Herbert Reece was born in Union County near Blood Mountain. Nicknamed "Hub," he grew up on the family farm. That life and his mountain heritage would be recurring themes in his writing.

He attended Young Harris College, and published his first collection of poems in 1945.  Over the next ten years he wrote two novels and three more books of poetry.  Bow Down in Jericho was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. Reece's writings garnered two Guggenheim awards and he was writer-in-residence at UCLA, Emory, and back home at Young Harris.  But his books didn't make much money, and he contracted tuberculosis from his parents. 

Weighed down by illness and depression, Byron Herbert Reece committed suicide at Young Harris in 1958 at the age of 40.

His death cut short the promising literary life of the man whose writings and name still echo through the mountains that he loved and where he was born on September 14, 1917, Today in Georgia History.