Williw Putt - T EdwardsWhen Maud Hart Lovelace’s book Betsy-Tacy was released in 1940, her hometown newspaper printed a book review stating, “Even if Maud Hart Lovelace had not admitted on the jacket of her forthcoming book that Mankato is the setting of the story, Mankato would have known. Nothing quite like this story has been written about Mankato before. And nothing before has ever revealed so clearly the Mankato which is a community with personality and charm.”

Certainly all of Mankato was interested in reading about the people and places mentioned in the book. One of those readers was Thomas C. Edwards.

Thomas C. Edwards, born in December 1878, was 12 years older than Maud. He was impressed with Betsy-Tacy because it brought back many of his own childhood memories of growing up in Mankato.

Tom was a life insurance agent and a charter member of the Mankato Golf Club. He wrote a golfing column for the local newspaper, the Mankato Free Press, under the by-line of “Willie Putt”. He wrote an article for the Free Press entitled “Willie Putt Remembers Betsy-Tacy Neighborhood” (September 7, 1940) about the memories the Betsy-Tacy book stirred for him.

He wrote, “We who live, and have lived in Mankato and knew Tom and Mrs. Hart, will be entertained thoroughly, and at times when we read this little book we think of the Knights of Pythias Lodge dances, the aristocratic demeanor of “Tom,” and the happy, friendly atmosphere of Mrs. Hart. The book was written at a time in my life when Maud Hart Lovelace and her friends were too wee for a person of my mature age – I must have been 16 or 18!”

More on the relationship between Maud and “Willie Putt” to follow.