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Roald Tweet

Writer and Narrator of 'Rock Island Lines'

Beginning 1995, historian and folklorist Dr. Roald Tweet spun his stories of the Mississippi Valley to a devoted audience on WVIK. Dr. Tweet published three books as well as numerous literary articles and recorded segments of "Rock Island Lines." His inspiration was that "kidney-shaped limestone island plunked down in the middle of the Mississippi River," a logical site for a storyteller like Dr. Tweet.

It was from Rock Island’s rich heritage that Dr. Tweet spun his histories, biographies and "stretchers." Among his favorite topics were railroads and riverboats, which he combined on a CD in celebration of the Grand Excursion in 2004. "Rock Island Lines with Roald Tweet" received awards from the Illinois Historical Society as well as the Towner Award from the Illinois Humanities Council.

Dr. Tweet was professor emeritus, retired from the Augustana College English department, where he was professor and Conrad Bergendoff Chair in the Humanities. A writer and radio personality, Dr. Tweet was also an accomplished woodcarver and whittler.

Dr. Tweet left us in November of 2020, but his legacy lives on. You can hear many of his Rock Island Lines in podcast form here and also in a forthcoming book from WVIK and East Hall Press.

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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Ever since 1689, historians have wondered just what happened to the Baron Lahontan in Minnesota. Although he was only…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.The western lawman, Wyatt Earp, was born in Monmouth, Illinois, just south of here, on March 19th, 1848, and went on to…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.In 1840, the Reverend George Moore moved from Massachusetts to Quincy, Illinois to become a missionary for the Society…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.When the great American poet, William Cullen Bryant visited his brother John in Princeton, Illinois, in 1832, he…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Have you ever wondered what Tom Sawyer would be like if Mark Twain had written the book fifty years later, in the 20th…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Had General Winfield Scott ended his career with the Black Hawk War, our English language would have been the…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island."How many Minnehahas are there on the Land O'Lakes butter carton," my father asked me one day when I was six. "Two?" I…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.Before you curl up in an easy chair with that novel you've been wanting to read, be warned by the story of Floyd Dell,…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.By sixth grade, most boys and girls have come to think of poets as people who stick their heads in the clouds and see…
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    This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.To understand how sad this story is, you have to know that Swedish Lutheran congregations are usually suspicious of…