Fountain Inn SC – Called “The Sage of Fountain Inn” during his career, Robert Quillen was one of the most-read newspapermen of his time. Though his popularity brought fame and a modicum of fortune, he refused all offers to re-locate to big cities and their commensurate monetary rewards. He preferred his small town, and its people, and simply chose to stay put.
In his heyday, he was published in more than 400 newspapers, domestic and internationally. It was estimated that almost ten million people a day read his quips, paragraphs, cartoons and editorials. Today, eight decades after his death, Quillen’s writings are still making the literary rounds in the form of reprinted articles and books.
An encore presentation of the one-man show which had its premiere in May, “An Evening with Robert Quillen”, is scheduled for Friday, October 6, 7:00 PM, in the Fountain Inn History Museum. The performance will be on the eve of the town’s annual Aunt Het Festival. Aunt Het was one of the homespun characters Quillen created through editorials and cartoons.
The festival is set for Saturday, Oct. 7 in Fountain Inn, and includes a collectors edition car show, a commemorative exhibition at the history museum, and a blocked-off downtown all day for a variety of vendors and entertainment.
Written by its presenter, Don Nickson, “An Evening with Robert Quillen” features narration by historian Dr. Edward Panosian, who headed the Division of History at Bob Jones University for half a century.
In addition to biographical material, the program’s substance is taken from the pages of the Fountain Inn Tribune that Quillen founded in 1911 and published for more than 40 years. Research was done using back issues of the newspaper on file at the Fountain Inn History Museum.
“The biggest problem with writing a show about Robert Quillen is knowing when to stop,” Nickson said, “Because he was so prolific. Just when you think it’s time to sign off, you discover another gem of a paragraph that’s just too good to omit.”
“An Evening with Robert Quillen” is free of charge, part of the Fountain Inn Museum’s continuing series of up-country history programs. The museum is located at 102 Depot Street in the center of Fountain Inn, and seating for the program is limited. For information, call Randall Frye, museum curator, at (864) 862-2586.