Available for the first time - the biography of this amazing man.


The author and her husband have been full-time RVers for nearly ten years and travel the U.S. and Canada extensively.

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There is little question that it was James Ball Naylor’s passion for poetry and writing that brought him the most public acclaim. The true-to-life characters he depicted in his 1901 best-selling novel, Ralph Marlowe, were drawn right out of rural America at the turn of the twentieth century. The atmosphere of the country, the real flavor of the land and the people struck a chord with readers as far away as Great Britain. The characters in his books were gleaned from the real people he rubbed shoulders with daily. His descriptive powers enabled his readers to easily visualize each scene.

Poetry was Naylor’s first love, and he was a prolific poet. His poems are at times word paintings that capture scenes from his beloved Muskingum Valley or touching, heartfelt stories, or humorous vignettes. His poems deal with simple, commonplace incidents and events of everyday life. His dialect poems rival those of James Whitcomb Riley for real poetic sentiment and humor in homely garb.

Naylor’s writings have stood the test of time. As his works enter the public domain, they are being reprinted and made available to a whole new generation of readers. Although literary standards have changed, the fact remains that he was one of the best known and most read authors at the turn of the century. It is time that he is acknowledged for his achievements and that his place in literary history as a poet and as a writer is secured.


From the Author:  When I started my research it was to find out how James Ball Naylor became a best-selling author at the turn of the twentieth century and then faded into the shadows. It did not take long for me to see clearly that his life was not just a collection of facts and writings to be pieced together. The essence of who he was emerged for me. I discovered in Naylor an exceptionally gifted and confident man who approached life head on. He lived life on his own terms, making choices for himself and his family that ultimately denied him the long lasting fame and fortune that other writers of that period enjoyed.

Early in life Naylor developed a set of moral principles and a sense of integrity that would define him throughout his life. Although he welcomed the acclaim he received over the years, what ultimately mattered most to him were the people he loved and the healing and comfort he brought to others in his role as a physician.

Getting to know this man, James Ball Naylor, has been truly inspirational.  Almost without realizing the impact, I have continually revisited how I make choices and what is truly important in my life.  My hope is that this biography will be an inspirational read for others and introduce a new generation to James Ball Naylor and his literary works.


The Final Test

When all is said and all is done,

When all is lost or all is won—

In spite of musty theory,

Of purblind faith and vain conceit,

Of barren creed and sophistry:

In spite of all—success, defeat,

The Judge accords to worst and best,

Impartially, this final test:

What hast thou done with brawn and brain,

To help the world to lose or gain

An onward step? Canst reckon one

Unselfish, brave or noble deed,

That thou—nor counting cost! Hast done

To help a brother’s crying need?

Not what professed nor what believed

But what good thing hast thou achieved!

James Ball Naylor