James Boyd (1888-1944) was born and raised in Pennsylvania, son of a wealthy coal and oil family with North Carolina roots. Following World War I, recurrent illness forced his retirement to Weymouth, a house his grandfather had built near Southern Pines. Boyd’s first book, Drums, set in Edenton, North Carolina, has been called the best novel written about the American Revolution. His five historical novels influenced major developments in the genre, elevating it through greater historical accuracy, psychological and sociological awareness, and formal craftsmanship. In 1940, Boyd organized the Free Company of Players, a group of American writers that, despite the powerful opposition of right-wing conservative interests, produced a series of original radio plays in response to what they saw as antidemocratic attitudes prevalent in America due to the growing war in Europe. In 1941, Boyd bought The Pilot, transforming it into a progressive regional paper which has been honored for excellence. James and Katharine Boyd brought to Weymouth many of the finest writers of their time, making it, in Jonathan Daniels’ words, a “springboard for the southern literary renaissance.” Visitors included Paul Green, Thomas Wolfe, Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner, Struthers Burt, and John Galsworthy.
Drums (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925):
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See what’s inside the James Boyd Library at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, NC.