Fowler, Robert H. 1926–2002

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Fowler, Robert H. 1926–2002

(Robert Howard Fowler)

PERSONAL: Born July 2, 1926, in Monroe, NC; died September 7, 2002; son of James Wiley and Stella (Mundy) Fowler; married Beverly Jeanne Utley (a research assistant), June 30, 1950; children: Wade Utley, Alyce Mundy, Robert Howard, Jr., Susanna Jeanne. Education: Attended Guilford College, Greensboro, NC, 1946–48; University of North Carolina, A.B., 1950; Columbia University, M.S., 1954. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Methodist.

CAREER: Journalist, publisher, and writer. Reidsville Review, Reidsville, NC, reporter, 1950; Greensboro Daily News, Greensboro, NC, reporter and assistant city editor, 1950–55; St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, FL, city editor, 1955–56; Harrisburg Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA, editorial writer, 1956–60; Historical Times, Inc., Harrisburg, PA, founder and member of board of directors, 1960–88, vice president and general manager, 1960–69, president, 1968–80, chairman of the board, 1980–88; Swank-Fowler Publications (included newspapers Newport Sun and the Juniata Sentinel, owner and publisher, 1984–2000; Caribbean Travel & Life magazine, part owner and director, until 1996. Also founding editor of Civil War Times Illustrated, 1959–73, and American History Illustrated, beginning 1966, and founder of British History Illustrated.

Served as member of board of directors of Commonwealth Communication Services, Inc.; director of People-to-People Book Drive, 1959; and president of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Foundation, 1999–2001; member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, beginning 1993; and a trustee of Albright College. Military service: U.S. Naval reserve, active duty, 1944–46.

MEMBER: American Society of Magazine Editors, National Historical Society (founder; president), Overseas Press Club, Company of Military Historians, Harrisburg Civil War Round Table, Pennsylvania Newspaper Association (president, 1989–90), Keystone Press Endowment Society, Sigma Delta Chi, Princeton Club, Savage Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: Prizes from Pennsylvania News-paper Publishers Association, 1957–60, for editorial and public service.

WRITINGS:

Album of the Lincoln Murder (nonfiction), Stackpole (Mechanicsburg, PA), 1965.

(With Frederick Ray) O, Say Can You See (nonfiction), Stackpole (Mechanicsburg, PA), 1970.

Jim Mundy: A Novel of the American Civil War, Harper (New York, NY), 1977, reprinted, Stealth Press (Lancaster, PA), 2000.

Jason McGee, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1979.

The Spoils of Eden (novel), Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1985.

Jeremiah Martin: A Revolutionary War Novel, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Voyage to Honor: A Historical Novel: The War of 1812, Stackpole (Mechanicsburg, PA), 1996.

Annie Mundy (novel), Stealth Press (Lancaster, PA), 2001.

The Battle of Milroy Station: A Novel of the Nature of True Courage, Forge (New York, NY), 2003.

SIDELIGHTS: Robert H. Fowler once told CA: "Jim Mundy is my first published novel. I have written four detective novels based on the exploits of an ex-CIA man now a professor of American history and a Civil War buff, but have not offered them to a publisher. I pay a great deal of attention to accuracy in my historical novels. The writing of fiction is a hobby with me along with sculpting, tennis, and canoeing."

In Jim Mundy: A Novel of the American Civil War, Fowler tells the story of a Confederate patriot who serves in the Southern Army with little interest in slavery or the politics surrounding the war. Reviewing the 2000 reissue opf the novel, Library Journal contributor Michael Rogers noted that past critics placed Jim Mundy "on a level with The Red Badge of Courage." Fowler's last book, The Battle of Milroy Station: A Novel of the Nature of True Courage, focuses on Andrew Jackson Mundy, who is asked to change parties and run as a vice-presidential candidate with Republican William McKinley. Mundy's ultimate refusal of the offer and the reasons behind his decision are Fowler's primary interest as the author delves into Mundy's past and his experience during an infamous Civil War battle. Writing in the Library Journal, Joel W. Tscherne noted that the author "fills his battle scenes with credible details and tactics." Also praising the battle scenes was a Publishers Weekly contributor, who went on to comment that the author "is able to raise his characters, humble and mighty, above cliché." Wes Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, called the effort "a carefully researched and well-written historical novel."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America, May 3, 1980, Joseph Pusateri, review of Jason McGee, p. 388.

Booklist, January 1, 2003, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Battle of Milroy Station: A Novel of the Nature of True Courage, p. 846.

Library Journal, April 1, 1985, Lydia Burruel, review of The Spoils of Eden, p. 157; March 15, 2001, Michael Rogers, review of Jim Mundy: A Novel of the American Civil War, p. 112; February 1, 2003, Joel W. Tscherne, review of The Battle of Milroy Station, p. 116.

Publishers Weekly, February 8, 1985, review of The Spoils of Eden, p. 70; September 8, 1988, Sybil Steinberg, review of Jeremiah Martin: A Revolutionary War Novel, p. 120; January 6, 2003, review of The Battle of Milroy Station, p. 36.

OBITUARIES:

PERIODICALS

Civil War Times Illustrated, December, 2002, Jim Kushlan, "Farewell to a Friend," p. 4.

ONLINE

Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Web site, http://www.pa-newspaper.org/ (November 16, 2005), "Members Share memories of Robert Fowler, His Legacy Contributions to PNA Are Noted."

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