February 6, 1909 - January 8, 1985
Wyatt Blassingame was born in Demopolis, Ala. He attended Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham, Ala., for two years, then transferred to the University of Alabama. After graduating in 1930 with an AB degree, Blassingame worked for a year as a police reporter for The Montgomery Advertiser. He then enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Alabama but left in 1933 without writing a thesis. Blassingame spent some time travelling on freighters before moving to New York City to live with his brother Lurton, who was a literary agent. In New York, Blassingame focused on his writing and began selling short stories to mystery magazines.
Blassingame married in 1936 and moved with his new family to Anna Maria, a small island off the coast of Florida. From 1948 to 1951, Blassingame was a writing instructor at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla. Later in his career, he also taught at Manatee Junior College (now Manatee Community College). Blassingame's first book, a collection of mystery stories, was published in 1944. The first of his four novels, For Better, For Worse, was published in 1951. Two years later, he published the first of his many children's books. Blassingame also continued to write articles and short stories which appeared in national newspapers and magazines through the 1970s. He died in Bradenton, Fla., in 1985.
Wyatt Blassingame wrote seven children's books based on "tall tale" characters and about fifty nonfiction books for children, many on Florida subjects. His books for adults include a collection of mystery stories and four novels. Three of his novels, Live from the Devil, The Golden Geyser, and Halo of Spears, are set in historical Florida.
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Photo courtesy of the University of South Florida Tampa Library, Special and Digital Collections Department.
Last updated on Dec 12, 2009.