The Torch of Liberty

by Frederic Arnold Kummer, Illustrated by Kreigh Collins

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The Torch of Liberty features several Greek stories highlighting the development of democracy. The illustrations in this volume are by Kreigh Collins (1908-1974) who created the comic strip hero Kevin the Bold, and whose papers are collected by the library of Syracuse University.

Frederic Arnold Kummer (1873-1943) was the son of a German emigrant who fought in the Civil War and helped found Kummer & Becker, the Baltimore banking firm who were agents for the North German Lloyd Steamship Line.

In he wrote The Film of Fear, the earliest known novel with a motion picture theme. Three years later he wrote the lyrics for “My Golden Girl” a popular Broadway comedy with music by Victor Herbert. Kummer’s other titles included The Green God (1911, Ladies in Hades: A Story of Hell’s Smart Set (1928) and Gentlemen in Hades: The Story of a Damned Debutante (1930). His first wife, Clare Rodman Beecher (1873-1958) was a composer and songwriter who worked with Sigmund Romberg and Jerome Kern. His son by his second wife, Marjorie McLean—Frederic Arnold Kummer Jr.—became a science fiction writer.

The collaboration of Kummer and Collins was well reviewed when it first appeared: “There have been a number of books on somewhat similar pattern – a collection of short stories designed to highlight periods in world history when the significance of freedom came to the fore. Janet Marsh’s Don’t Tread on Me, is an example. But this, though inevitably there is some overlapping, is far and away the best one that has been done. One traces the different aspects under which democracy has appeared from early Greeks to modern America, Good stories all.”