Author's Subject a Harding Colleague

by Reporter Kurt Moore

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - Marion Star

MARION - Theresa Marie Flaherty, author of a biography on the late Ohio writer James Ball Naylor, will speak Thursday at the Marion Public Library.

Flaherty is the author of "The Final Test, A Biography of James Ball Naylor." A physician by trade, Naylor also wrote historical novels, poetry and children's books. He was an acquaintance of President Warren G. Harding and wrote daily columns on a variety of subjects for The Marion Star for eight years.

The book is finalist for the 2011 National INDIE Excellence Book Awards in the historical biography category.

Flaherty will share her fascination with Naylor when she speaks from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the library, 445 E. Church St.

When asked why she wrote about him, she referred to herself as an "accidental biographer." She started out by transcribing portions of Naylor's diaries for an Ohio historian she met.

She had failed at her first book attempt, but said she tried it again, doing more research this time.

The challenge was to find the story in Naylor's life and put it into the context of the world," she said.

Naylor traveled as a speaker as part of what was referred to as the "lyceum movement" of the nineteenth century.

Flaherty said Naylor ran unsuccessfully for state senate at the same time Harding ran for governor. She said his continued support for Harding, when alleged scandals came to light after Harding's death, led to his being dropped by the Star.

While his close connections in political circles could have led to positions in politics, Flaherty said, Naylor spent his life in Morgan County. He served as District Health Commission from 1920 to 1931.

She said his passion remained helping people.

Flaherty enjoyed researching about his life. She and her husband travel across the United States and Canada in a recreational vehicle. She wrote while traveling, and during the winter when they stayed in Texas.

She said the hardest part about writing the book was stepping out and taking a risk, deciding that she was enough of an expert to be the one to write about Naylor's life.

"He's been the other man in my life for 40 years," she joked.

Other upcoming events at the library include the kickoff of the summer reading club, from 10:30 a.m. to noon June 4.

Reporter Kurt Moore

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