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“The Night the Bucket Fell”

PUBLISHED: April 14, 2008

Saturday’s Washington Post brought the news of the death of writer, archivist and adventurer Leonard Rapport, who turns out to have been a contributor to VQR back in 1936. The 95-year-old Army veteran was one of the great scholars of 18th century documents about the founding of the United States, an employee of the National Archives, and an author of fiction and nonfiction alike. After his 1984 retirement he set about hiking. He completed the bulk of the southern third of the Appalachian Trail (Tennessee/North Carolina through Virginia) and walked coast to coast across the British Isles. He was 80 years old when he walked across Ireland.

The Night the Bucket Fell” appeared in the Summer 1936 issue, where it was published alongside work by Robert Penn Warren, Charles A. Beard, economist Broadus Mitchell, Herbert Read, R.P. Blackmur and John Peale Bishop. It was just one year after his graduation from the University of North Carolina.

To mark the occasion of Leonard Rapport’s death, we’ve made public “The Night the Bucket Fell,” his story of a crew working on one of the many enormous concrete dams constructed by the United States Reclamation Service during the Depression. In the mold of Mr. Rapport, this story has only become hardier with time.

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