R. F. D.: Charles Allen Smart
by Charles Allen Smart
contributions by Gene Logsdon
Ohio University Press, 1998
Paper: 978-0-8214-1254-1
Library of Congress Classification S521.5.O3S535 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 630.977182


“This book,” the author tells us in his preface, “is intended to be a picture of life on a farm in Southern Ohio in the 1930s.” It is a faithful portrait of farm life as thousands of men and women experienced it from one end of the country to the other and from pioneering times to the present century.

Originally published in 1938 to enthusiastic reviews and commercial success, RFD is the story of one couple’s trials with leaving the comforts of city life for a chance to get back to the land.

From his farm near Chillicothe, Ohio, Charles Allen Smart gives a realistic rendering of what it meant to farm in the 1930s. It is part of the book’s intrinsic honesty that it could not be as good as Walden. Thoreau had worked out a philosophy that suited him and that he was ready to recommend to others. Mr. Smart had no prescription for the general ailments, beyond a belief that creating things is important and that owning, buying, and selling things are unimportant.

What he tells us throughout this unusual book is that for him life on this particular farm, in this particular house, with this particular set-up of friends, neighbors, dogs, sheep, hens, cattle, trees, corn, vegetables, grass, and weather, costs less in human values than life in New York City—or in Chillicothe.

Ohio University Press is especially pleased to reissue this midwestern classic with a new foreword by noted farm writer Gene Logsdon.

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