Robert Hicks Biography
I was born and raised in South Florida. My parents filled our home with
books. When I was sick and stayed home from school, my dad would give me
volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica or Bartlett's
Familiar Quotations to cuddle up in bed with, instead of a diet of
TV. Books were held to be sacred and precious. Christmases and birthdays
were always times of book-giving and book-receiving. One of the first
books to have a lasting impact on me (beyond the Bible, which seems to
have anchored every Southern home of my generation) was Richard
Halliburton's Complete Book of Marvels. I still attribute my
passion for travel and adventure to the nights I fell asleep reading of
Halliburton's world-wide adventures.
Many of my lifelong favorites can be found on any seventh or eighth
grade reading list of my time: C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy, To Kill A
Mockingbird and All The King's Men taught me about the
value of goodness and truth. Moby Dick and Lord of The Flies, taught me to read. Ayn Rand's Anthem made me think
about what it meant to be an individual. All these were to impact my
In high school I discovered biography, reading books about Robert E.
Lee, Nicholas and Alexander and the Confessions by St.
Augustine to name a few. This passion for biography has continued
through the years with books like Peter Guralnick's two-volume biography
of Elvis; to a recent read, Surviving The Confederacy,
about Roger and Sarah Pryor.
James Webb's Fields of Fire had a profound impact on me,
since it brought me closer to the idea that I might be a writer someday
myself. His most recent book, Born Fighting, has taught me a
bit more about myself through my culture heritage. I struggled through
William Faulkner's The Sound and The Fury in college, but once
I was done, I was hooked on Faulkner forever.
While my taste ranges from Smith's Vitruvius on Architecture
to John Ruskin's The Stones of Venice, I can get hooked on
poplar culture like anyone else and was absorbed enough after reading
John Berendt's Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil to make
the mandatory pilgrimage to Savannah.
Point is, my reading interests remain as encyclopedic as the books my
dad left on bedside table so many years ago.
In 1974 I moved to Williamson County, Tennessee [www.historicfranklin.com].
Then in 1979 I moved to 'Labor in Vain,' a late-eighteenth-century log
cabin on the edge of the woods, in a hollow near Leiper's Fork,
Working as a music publisher and in artist management in both country
and rock music, my interests remain broad and varied. A partner in the
B. B. King's Blues Clubs [www.bbkingbluesclub.com] in Nashville, Memphis
and Los Angeles, I serve as 'Curator of Vibe' of the corporation.
Born out of my passion for this life throughout all the ages, I'm
a collector, by nature. I've collected since I was a kid. It began with
fossilized shells from our driveway to rocks and leaves and baseball
cards to books, 18th century maps of Tennessee, Tennesseana in general,
Southern decorative arts and material culture, to Outsider Art. I am
surrounded by collections. A friend says the next thing I bring home
must come with a crow bar to get it into my cabin. My older brother once
said that I'd "inherited more of the 'hunter-gatherer' genes than
most other kids."
I served as co-curator (with Ben Caldwell and Mark Scala) on the
exhibition, Art of Tennessee, at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in
Nashville. The exhibition was a seven-year endeavor from conception at
my kitchen table to its opening in September 2003. I was co-editor of
the exhibition's award-winning catalog, Art of Tennessee (UT Press,
In the field of historic preservation, I have served on the Boards of
Historic Carnton Plantation [www.carnton.org], the Tennessee State
Museum, The Williamson County Historical Society, and the Museum of
Early Southern Decorative Arts. [www.oldsalem.org/about/mesda.htm]
In December 1997, after a third term as President of the Carnton
board, and in light of my work at Carnton, I was honored by my
fellow-board members with a resolution calling me "the driving
force in the restoration and preservation of Historic Carnton
For the past two years, I've headed up Franklin's Charge: A Vision
and Campaign for the Preservation of Historic Open Space [www.franklinscharge.com]
in the fight to secure and preserve both battlefield and other historic
open space in Williamson County. Franklin's Charge has taken on the
massive mission of saving what remains of the eastern flank of the
battlefield at Franklin the largest remaining undeveloped fragment
of the battlefield and turning it into public battlefield park which
will, in my dreams, eventually run from the Lotz and Carter Houses [www.carter-house.org]
on Columbia Avenue to Ft. Granger and Carnton Plantation, with
significant holdings around Breezy and Winstead
National Geographic's, April 2005 issue has an article
entitled 'Civil War Then and Now' that speaks of Franklin's Charge's
work in battlefield reclamation, calling Franklin the "most
unjustly forgotten" of "all the Civil war's major
From the author's website.
This biography was last updated on 09/01/2010.
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