Segment: Public interest in "River of Grass"

Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas: a tale of two women / produced by Florida International University Learning Resources for FIU/FAU Joint Center. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove, June 15, 1983.

Link to Audio: SPC951_11

Length of Segment: 00:02:20

Interviewer: (35:19)What do you think about the book Everglades: River of Grass struck a responsive cord in people?  Was it just that, for the first time, it was called a river, or was there something else about the Everglades itself or about the book that…”

MSD: Well,  I of course, well I don’t know.  I think it touched their imagination.  I know that when it was published Brentano’s, you know, that good big bookstore in New York, had both windows filled with it, and they practically sold out everything they had in the store.  And the publisher, Reinhart, hadn’t realized there’d be such a demand for it, and they sold out long before Christmas and they didn’t have anymore, and they couldn’t reprint it until January.  They only printed about 7,500 and they sold right out before Christmas.  And they printed some more later, and they sold out.  But they could have sold 10,000, I think.  And nobody, (glitch) why you don’t know? How can you tell?  It’s like the theatre; biggest gamble in the world.  You don’t know what is going to hit people.  But people had heard about them, evidently, and people were coming to Florida.  I think partly its Florida, because writers, I know a good many writers, or freelance writers, who sell to magazines and things , they say things about Florida will always sell.  More than any, and if you try to write something about another state, and it doesn’t sell so well.  So I think it was something about Florida and people’s interest in coming to Florida and all that.  Because back in '47, of course, they were coming here very much.  Good Lord, this town had… when I first came in 1915 there weren’t 5,000 people in this town.  By ‘47 there were thousands, I don’t know how many… millions.  And that growth, you see, was what I think that interest in Florida and in the Everglades.  The Everglades is the one thing they didn’t know about.  Something like that, I don’t know.  You can’t tell.

Interviewer: Well, was there much interest in nature and in…

MSD: Oh there’s always been a great deal of interest in that in this country.  But the interest in Florida nature was what it was.