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tdempsey <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 16 Aug 2006 08:14:49 -0500
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Would one of you who knew Ed Branch more closely please write and post an
obituary?  I swapped multiple e-mails with him beginning around 2002.  I was
always amazed his depth of knowledge.  He would frequently begin things,
"I've sold my library, but I think..." and then rattle off verbatim
something profound, but little-known.  He had an amazingly agile mind --
even though he was in his late 80s and early 90s. He was extremely generous
and still excited by new material or a provocative thought.  He enjoyed and
encouraged people who were doing research.
    He was kind to me, even when I was reinventing the same wheel he had
created long ago.  I remember a specific incident where we corresponded
about a letter in a Hannibal paper from 1861 signed Sam and referencing the
"seat of war."  I was quite excited.  He was thoroughly familiar with it.
Despite his vast knowledge, it was obvious that Ed never surrendered to the
temptations of scholasticism.  He never had a whiff of that
"everyone-who-matters-knows-that" condescencion.
    You mourn differently when someone has lived to be 93. Although his life
was fulfilled, it seems to me that Ed's death is a real loss to this field.
It is definitely a milepost.  It would be nice if one of you who knew him
better would post an appreciation of his life.
    I thought he was a great guy.
    Terrell Dempsey