18 August 2009

Nominate Sandy Griswold for NPA Hall of Fame

The legacy of a sports writing is truly exemplified by newspaper man Sandy Griswold. He started writing when a teen of 15, and continued to hone his skills, scribing a number of thrilling and expansive dime novels while at New York City, then reporting sports at Toledo and Cincinnati.

On a editor's challenge he wrote the "first real baseball story ever printed in Omaha" which included a box score, being the first in the Midwest known to give this with a story about a game. He got the job as sporting editor, initiating a prolific sporting era in Omaha which lasted for him for more than four decades of writing about the myriad of sports at Omaha, the Missouri River valley and round and about Nebraska, first for the Omaha Bee and then for the Omaha World-Herald for a vivid period of time.

He wrote about the typical outdoor sports, as well as birds and other animals, flora of the seasons, and shooting sports on the sprawling, historic Platte River. His poetic prose evokes forlorn days during the four decades he visited the Sand Hills to shoot fowl. His renowned coverage included legendary bouts of boxing.

In May of 1898, Griswold moved to a desk at The World-Herald, as sporting editor, columnist and feature writer. Nearly each Sunday he had the "Forest, Field and Stream" column story, some with lengthy installments in several issues. There was usually also a feature story. He managed Questions Answered by the Oracle where reader submitted queries were submitted and published with a suitable answer. In later years his column was titled "Leaves from the Notebook of an Old Nature Student," the subjects changing through the years and illustrating a changing, personal view of the outdoors and its variety of denizens and thrills.

Have you ever read Sandy's Creed? After his tenure, a bird sanctuary was designated at the Omaha portion of Carter Lake, though this recognition has long been forgotten. Many prominent Omaha businessmen helped promote this effort.

Griswold's writing is wonderful poetic prose, rich with linguistic twists and having an expansive vocabulary to pique the reader's interest, and is a richly distinctive and profound presentation of Nebraskan history. He was still a grand outdoors writer at the paper while in his late-70s, with distinctive contributions until a few months before his death in April 1929. This legacy is still readily available for reading and appreciation on microfilm copies of state newspapers.

Many of his early bird stories - spanning three decades at least - have been transcribed and are available online at the Birds of Nebraska Project archive maintained by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Sandy's work deserve immediate recognition in the annals of newspaper history. Sandy Girard Veals Griswold should be nominated to the Nebraska Press Association hall of fame, and become a member, and the sooner the better as his work is unsurpassed.

Sandy Griswold should be nominated by his last employer, the Omaha World-Herald which presented decades of his writings, and his final efforts from a decade of dedication to providing stories readily enjoyed and which so many readers consistently looked forward to each week.

Sandy Griswold needs to be nominated for his tireless efforts to promote sports and then he should be resoundly voted into the Nebraska newspaper hall of fame!

No comments:

Post a Comment