||B E Y
O N D D A R K H I L L S
E. P. Dutton & Co., New York City,
New York, 1938. 399 pp.
The manuscript for this book was written
as a term paper assignment for an
autobiographical story. Stuart drew upon
his experiences growing up in W-Hollow. When Stuart
handed it to Edwin Mims, his professor,
he hefted the large bundle of pages and
grumbled about its length. A week later
Stuart encountered Mims on campus, who
said, “I have been teaching school for
forty years and I have never read
anything so crudely written and yet so
beautiful, tremendous, and powerful as
that term paper you have written”
(Richardson, Jesse, p. 157).
Stuart never intended it to be
published, but relented when E. P.
Dutton prevailed upon him.
Beyond Dark Hills: A Personal Story
was issued on April 18, 1938, by E. P.
Dutton, and simultaneously
Great Britain by Hutchinson & Company;
Stuart’s first book published overseas.
Copies of the two editions are in the
Jesse Stuart Collection--both signed by
While on a Guggenheim Fellowship in
Europe during 1937-38, Stuart received
several letters from a woman who simply
them signed “Nancy Astor.” Not realizing
that it was Lady Astor, he ignore them,
until he received one, demanding when he
was coming to see her. Upon inquiring
among some friends, it was only then
that he realized who the writer was. He
responded immediately and accept an
invitation to spend his last two weeks
in England at the home of Lord and Lady
Astor. Upon his return to Kentucky he
sent them a copy of Beyond Dark
Hills (now in the Jesse Stuart
Collection) and included an
inscription, with a brief statement of
how it came to be published.