September 28

John Donald Wade

September 28, 1892 - Marshallville

The rock of tradition versus the hard place of progress is an old Southern dilemma. John Donald Wade, born in Marshallville, knew it well.

Wade’s deep Georgia roots ran back to his great grandfather, John Adam Treutlen, Georgia’s first governor. Teaching at Vanderbilt in the 1920s, Wade helped create one of the seminal books in Southern literary history. Wade joined a group of writers known as “The Twelve Southerners,” including Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom.

Baltimore journalist H.L. Minkin ridiculed the South, calling it “the Sahara of the Bozart,” out of step with progress, particularly during the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial,” involving teaching evolution in a Tennessee classroom. In response, Wade’s group published a celebrated book of essays in 1930 entitled I’ll Take My Stand. It praised traditional— in their view superior—Southern Agrarian virtues.

Later, at the University of Georgia, Wade founded the Georgia Review in 1946. Now one of the most prestigious literary journals in the country, it’s a fitting literary monument to the author whose life began on September 28, 1892, Today in Georgia History.