Betty MacDonald (March 26, 1907 – February 7, 1958) was an American author of humorous memoirs and children’s books, born Anne Elizabeth Campbell Bard in Boulder, Colorado. Her father was a mining engineer, and the family moved frequently before finally settling in Seattle, Washington in 1916.
At age 20, Betty married Robert Eugene Heskett. It was 1927, and the couple made their home on a chicken farm in Chimacum Valley, part of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. The marriage ended just three years later when Betty left her husband and returned to Seattle in 1931.
During the Great Depression, Betty struggled to support herself, her daughters Anne and Joan, her mother, and her two younger sisters, working in a variety of occupations.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is perhaps best known for Sonnet 43. It opens with the infamously sappy line: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Spoiler alert: there are ten ways.
Browning enjoyed much popular and critical success in her life, which continued for some time after her death in 1861, at age 55. Her popularity declined over much of the twentieth century, until interest in it was revived by new biographies and scholarly editions of her works.
Though celebrated for ‘Sonnet 43’, which cold-hearted cynics like myself see as trite and kitschy, the poem “A Dead Rose” (see below) is perhaps more indicative of the talent that made her famous. Read More→
Dorothy Canfield Fischer (1879 – 1958) was a teacher, novelist, nonfiction writer, social activist, and traveler. Coming from a cosmopolitan background of professors, she was able to obtain a college education that was enviable for a woman of her time. Her best-known work is Understood Betsy (1917), a children’s book; she was also known in her time for The Bed-Quilt and other short stories and novels that had a quietly subversive edge to them.
She earned her doctorate in Romance Languages at the Sorbonne. Upon the outbreak of World War I, Fisher and her husband and children left their farm in Vermont to help in the French war effort. Though Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s books aren’t widely read today, she was a highly respected author in her time. Her quotes on life and love, though, are timeless: Read More→