New book spotlights famous travel writer born in Brownsville
BROWNSVILLE TN (October 27, 2014): Richard Halliburton was an adventurer and travel writer who became one of the world’s most famous celebrities during the first decades of the 20th century. R. Scott Williams explores Halliburton’s dramatic rise to fame in his first book about the explorer, “The Forgotten Adventures of Richard Halliburton, from Tennessee to Timbuktu.” Meet the author and learn more about the story during a book launch and signing Thursday, November 13, 5:45 p.m., at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn.
Williams’ looks at Halliburton’s life and the cultural changes taking place in the United States that contributed to his phenomenal success and tragic failures. Halliburton was born in Brownsville in 1900 and raised in Memphis. At the age of 19, he left home to lead an extraordinary life of adventure.
Williams interest in Halliburton began to develop while he was doing research on his own family. “For several years, I’ve been researching and writing about my ancestors who, since the early 1830s, mostly lived in and around Haywood County, Tennessee,” explains Williams. “My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were all born and lived there. Richard Halliburton’s ancestors were from the same area so I ran across the Halliburton name many times and my curiosity took me down the path of learning more about Richard.”
Against the backdrop of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, Halliburton’s exploits around the globe made him an internationally-known celebrity and the most famous travel writer and lecturer of his day. From climbing Mount Olympus in Greece, to swimming the Panama Canal, to literally flying all the way to Timbuktu, Halliburton experienced and wrote about adventures that others never even believed possible. He disappeared in 1939 during a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.
“Halliburton’s parents, Wesley and Nelle, actually met and married in Brownsville, Tennessee where Wesley was farming family land and Nelle was teaching at the Brownsville Women’s College,” says Williams. “Early in Richard Halliburton’s life, the family moved to Memphis, which is where I also grew up.”
During his life, Halliburton maintained close ties to his family in Memphis and returned home frequently. Shortly before his death, Halliburton’s father, Wesley, donated the family’s artifacts to Rhodes College. Williams worked closely with the library archivist and was able to use scrapbooks created by Wesley as a basis for his work on Halliburton. The book features never-before-published photos, rare letters, memorabilia and documents and photos of artifacts that provide a glimpse into the life of Halliburton. Several photos will be on display during the Book Launch and Signing November 13.
For more information about the book, visit www.HalliburtonBook.com. The book is available at HistoryPress.net and Amazon.com on November 5. To reserve a copy of the book ($19.99) for the signing or for more information about the event, call the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.
About R. Scott Williams
Originally from Memphis, R. Scott Williams is an advertising, marketing, and public relations executive with a passion for researching and recording unpublished stories of the early American south. After receiving his degree in journalism from the University of Memphis, he worked a variety of jobs until landing at Graceland where he helped take care of business for the king for more than twelve years. Currently, he leads the marketing and communication initiatives at the Newseum, a museum of news and history in Washington, D.C.
About the Center: The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center offers a refreshing Southern experience showcasing the history and culture of rural West Tennessee. Inside visitors can learn about the history of cotton, explore the scenic and “wild” Hatchie River and get to know the legendary musicians who call West Tennessee home. Also located on the grounds is Flagg Grove School, the childhood school of Tina Turner, and the last home of Blues pioneer Sleepy John Estes. To learn more about the Center, visit www.westtnheritage.com or call 731-779-9000