19 April 2010

Presidents, Senators, Governors, Preachers, Actors, Clowns & Undertakers

This is part two of the 1919 interview of then 71-year-old Bridges Smith (1848-1930) entitled "BRIDGES SMITH, AFTER FIFTY YEARS OF NEWSPAPER WORK, INTERVIEWED FOR FIRST TIME BY GIRL REPORTER." Upon his death, Mr. Smith was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery...

"By WILLIE A. SNOW
After fifty years of newspaper writing, jammed full of interviews with Presidents, Senators, Governors, preachers, actors, clowns and undertakers, Bridges Smith, now editor of the column, "Just 'Twixt Us" on The Telegraph and judge of the Juvenile Court, recalled only a few of the distinguished persons who have passed his way when he was interviewed yesterday for the first time during his life about his own experiences in chasing news.

Sitting in his office crowded with books, the majority of them enormous scrap books bulging with newspaper clippings on every subject from Fort Hawkins to the Georgia State Fair, he received the question, "Who are some of the great men you have interviewed?" with a wrinkling of the brow and a thoughtful expression. He leaned forward in his swivel chair and tapped with his fingers on the desk for several minutes.

To interview "greater lights" was all in a week's work with Bridges Smith when he began handing in copy in the seventies' so he did not bother cluttering up his brain remembering the names of them. After administering two dozen taps on the desk he leaned back and with a little resigned wave of the hand said: "Why, yes, I interviewed up to twenty years ago every man of note who visited Macon since '78, but I can't remember all of them just off-hand like this."

Asked About Jeff Davis' Health.

After a few more minutes of wrinkled brow he continued: "I interviewed President Wilson when he came to Macon, also Jefferson Davis on one of his visits here. Mr. Davis made several trips to Macon, but when I talked to him it was in '85, when he came here to attend the reunion. It was, I remember, on the balcony of the old union station just before he made a speech. I don't know what I asked him, but I suppose I inquired about his health."

As the smile which ventured forth on the face of his hearer at the thought of interviewing so famous a personage on the condition of his health, Judge Smith said: "You must remember interviewing was not an art in those days like it is today. I interviewed all important visitors, but it was not the big part of my work."

"When William McKinley came here, I interviewed him on some current topic of the day. In honor of his visit, an arch made of cotton bales was built over Poplar street. While here, he also made a speech which I covered."

...Next up -- Bridges Smith Can't Recall a Single Rebuff.

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