Alabama Bill and the Bowery

Whitney Snow

Non-Fiction

Born in rural Alabama in 1900, William Nabors possessed the spirit of wanderlust and the pen of a writer. At age fourteen, he published his first poem. About five years later,...

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9781620064092

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Born in rural Alabama in 1900, William Nabors possessed the spirit of wanderlust and the pen of a writer. At age fourteen, he published his first poem. About five years later, he was arrested for bootlegging and fled to the Texas oilfields. In an American odyssey, Nabors tramped the Southwest, worked as a journalist for the Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News, sailed the Atlantic Ocean, and settled in New York City, where he owned a book store with literary critic Ralph Adimari. Returning to journalism, Nabors created vignettes about the sights of the Big Apple, reflected on his adventures/travels, and recorded his encounters with an array of Greenwich Village characters including but not limited to novelist Maxwell Bodenheim; hobo Dan O’Brien; poet Vachel Lindsay; and artist Clifford Addams. While his vivid descriptions are captivating, Nabors’s letters hold matching value for insight into his gradual mental decline.

By the 1940s, Nabors chose topics about spiritualism, psychic phenomena, phantoms, and “hearing voices.” Becoming indigent, Nabors became a known figure in the Bowery, especially among the staff members of the Bowery News. His Bohemian lifestyle came to an abrupt end in 1958 when he committed suicide by allowing a taxi to run over him. His death created nationwide headlines: “Bowery Scholar,” the “Courtly Panhandler,” or his hobo handle --“Alabama Bill.”

by Whitney Snow
Page Count: 277
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publish Date: November 29, 2020
Imprint: Oxford Southern
Genre: History


HISTORY / United States / State & Local / South
HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Journalism
LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Letters
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health

 

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