A Southerner in Europe, ca. 1908

Clarence Hamilton Poe, a Southern writer and editor of The Progressive Farmer magazine, also wrote a book entitled A Southerner in Europe (1908) in which Poe gave his impressions of the people and the conditions in the European countries he visisted. Being of English descent, he compared conditions in England and Scotland with those in the American South and America generally.

He wrote of the prevalence of “familiar” surnames in England and Scotland. As he said, he didn’t feel like a ‘foreigner’ in those countries; he felt as though Europe was an American’s second home, his ancestral home; Britain did not feel alien to him.

His thoughts on the familiar surnames:

“There is one thing about these Scotch and English towns that cannot fail to impress itself upon any thoughtful visitor, and that is the similarity of the surnames to those common throughout our Southern country. It is the most striking illustration I have yet found of the oft-repeated statement that the South is now the most thoroughly Anglo-Saxon part of America. Walk down any business street in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Chester, or any other English or Scotch town that I have seen, and on the signs you will see in most cases names so common in your own town or county that you can hardly believe yourself in a foreign country, while the surnames you would find displayed in Boston or New York are strangely foreign and unfamiliar to a Southern traveler. I venture the prediction that any Southerner can walk down the main streets of Glasgow or Liverpool and find five times as many familiar names as he would find in a similar area on Broadway, New York.

And it’s a good stock of folk with which to claim kin — these English and Scotch. It’s very foolish and very harmful for jingoes to try to stir up bad feeling between England and America. We belong to the same great family, our ideals are mainly the same, and the two nations should work together in furthering those ideas throughout the wide world.”

A Southerner in Europe, Raleigh, N.C., Mutual Publishing, 1908
pp 28-29

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