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New Burlington

In the early 1970s, a quiet, two-hundred-year-old Ohio village called New Burlington was forcibly abandoned to allow the construction of a dam. John Baskin moved into an abandoned farmhouse and lived in New Burlington for its final year, commemorating and recording its residents’ funny and heartbreaking stories. The result is one of the most unique
and beautiful
histories ever written about rural America.

In Praise 
of Practical Fertilizer

In Praise of Practical Fertilizer, which has been compared to the essays of E.B. White and was chosen by the book editors of the Columbus Dispatch as one of its best books of the year, is what Josephine Johnson called “a fine, wry, quotable collection.” John Fleischman said Baskin’s essays contained manure ...

The Cincinnati Game

There is no city that has meant more to baseball than Cincinnati. In 1869, a band of hearty mustachioed fellows who called themselves the Red Stockings revolutionized the sport by defiantly turning professional, and ever since, Cincinnati has provided the customs through which baseball men and their best ideas have passed. John Baskin and Lonnie Wheeler, in The Cincinnati Game ...



A Eulogy for Hermann

Sport Literate magazine

In August, Hermann Court’s unairconditioned squash courts resembled a Turkish bath where the players paused occasionally to mop the floors. The court on the outside wall—hotter in summer, colder in winter—bore passing resemblance to the punishment hut in the old classic, Bridge on the River Kwai. It was therefore known as “the loser’s court,” a kind of Siberia ...

Fall, 2021

In Search of Leo

New Millennium Writings

he fast train from Paris to Bordeaux hurtles south, through farming country disguised as southwest Ohio, a wide swath of France minus its picture postcards. The first-time American visitor, gazing across these unremarkable vistas, wonders if he has been victimized by the Ministry of Culture; where is France? Then somewhere below Poitiers, the country begins ...

First Place | Nonfiction Writing Contest XLVII | 2019

Gene Everlasting

Front Porch Republic

For some time, I saw Gene Logsdon as a wiry bearded fellow in slouch hat and knee boots, striding purposefully across a field he was sowing by hand. That was the picture at the top of his stationary, a piece of line art called “The Country Rover,” who was also broadcasting words across a page, or that was how I saw it. This, of course, gives you some idea of how long ...

June, 2016

Past lives

Cincinnati magazine

There is an image I forever see when I think of the vanished place that was New Burlington, Ohio: in the driveway of a house, a young man is whipping the horse that is pulling his carriage. Inside the house, a young girl named Sarah, wearing a long calico dress, runs down the hallway, jumps the back steps, and flees into the orchard ...

June, 2000

Ohio Town

Washington Post Book World

In the next town south of Miss Helen Santmyer’s Xenia, and considerably before her, lived a historian named Robert Barclay Harlan. Mr. Harlan was a rather full character who was once arrested for causing a riot on the Fourth of July and, at the onset of the Civil War when he was in his sixties, led the local volunteers off to war under the flag from his front porch ...

September 2, 1984

Intimations of Immortality

Washington Post

And so we got through, all the way to the home opener, downhill after that, with no injuries only the Jap, who broke his collarbone and set us back one good defensive lineman, and we got through on one good phrase, an inside joke. There’s a good sight of energy to an inside joke, something to remember ...

September 7, 1980


Prairie Fires and Paper Moons: The American Photographic Postcard

The Bakers were an old family, which ran down on the dry prospects of two sons confirmed into a bachelorhood as staunch as their Republicanism. I discovered them in the basement of my farmhouse, in a mildewed box of old diaries and postcards. The elder son’s prose was a combination of droll, self-deprecatory humor and a perpetual, grousing feud with all ...


There, Alone, Sits Lawrence Mitchner

The New York Times, op-ed page

When the Army Corps of Engineers, thinking reservoir thoughts, announced intentions of eradicating the small farms ing village of New Burlington, Ohio. from the face of its tillable earth, Lawrence Mitchner said quietly to his neighbors that he would not move. The seven widows who lived up the street (and across) said: That is like Lawrence ...

Ohio Town: Shane

Ohio magazine

Jack Schaefer has just left us, at 83, riding off into that final sunset, and like another Ohio cowboy before him, Zane Grey, Mr. Schaefer spent his life demonstrating splendidly a certain set of mind, one which has always connected Ohio to the West, rather than to our more comfortable pedigrees back East. It's a notion that has historically informed ...

September 2, 1984

A Man with a Hard Drive is a Hard-driving Man

Ohio magazine

I know a man named Jim Schwartz, who is a teacher at Wright State’s lake campus in Celina and understands more about computers than God does. If the universe had a software problem, God would get in touch with Mr. S., and Mr. S. would show up wearing a Hawaiian shirt and carrying a little valise with a handful of tools and ...

September 2, 1984

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