The Story of The Darn Man

The irony of the Vagabond Era in America, primarily in the Northeast, is that it happened from the post Civil War 1800's til around 1920, which is the same period of great flamboyance in the Gilded Age

Did You Know…that before there was the Leatherman…a popular figure from our region’s past who was real and well chronicled…but also whose life was the subject of great embellishment and fantastical extrapolation…there was “the Darn Man.” So make no mistake…this is not a nicer way of saying “the damn man”…nor is it a label of condemnation. The Darn Man was also real…pre-dates the Leatherman…and earned his name from his recurring need for needle and thread to mend the clothes he wore to protect him from the elements. Our Myths and Legends host Professor Stephen Gencarella from UMass/Amherst shares the historic context of these vagabond legends…here is a clip from the Professor…as we learn of more about the vagabonds, their heartache, and how the legends may have been shaped by our social landscape at that time. For more, check out our vast collection of programs available for one-touch playback in our member archive.

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Myths and Legends

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