Susan Glaspell (July 1, 1876 – July 28, 1948) was an American playwright and fiction writer. Glaspell and her husband George Cram Cook founded the Provincetown Players, considered the first modern American theater company.
Susan Glaspell grew up on a farm near Davenport, Iowa. Her father was a hay farmer, her mother was a schoolteacher, and she had two brothers. As a child she had a natural affinity for animals, often rescuing strays. Her grandmother regaled her with real-life pioneer adventure stories that sparked her imagination. Read More→
Mary Hunter Austin (September 9, 1868 – August 13, 1934) was an American novelist and essayist who focused her writing on cultural and social problems within the Native American community. In addition to spending seventeen years making a special study of Indian life in the Mojave Desert, Austin was also an early feminist and defended the rights of Native Americans and Spanish Americans.
Austin was born in Carlinville, Illinois and was the fourth of six siblings whose parents were Savannah and George Hunter. In 1888, her family moved to Bakersfield, California, where they established a homestead in the San Joaquin Valley. That same year, Austin also graduated from Blackburn College.
Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) was an American poet and essayist known for her radical feminism and activism. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she was raised in a family that included a younger sister. Her father who worked as a pathologist at John Hopkins, and her mother was a classical concert pianist. It was her father who first encouraged her literary leanings.
After graduating from Roland Park Country School, Rich attended Radcliffe College (the former women’s college of Harvard University), from which she graduated in 1951. Right before she graduated, Rich received the Yale Series of Younger Poets award for her first collection of poetry, A Change of World. The esteemed poet W.H. Auden selected Rich for the prestigious prize. Read More→
Sara Teasdale (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933) was an American poet known for her deceptively simple lyric poetry that emphasized life’s beauty. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, she was the youngest of four children of wealthy parents. In delicate health throughout her childhood, she was tutored at home until the age of ten.
Despite her privileged background, and being spoiled and petted, Sara’s childhood was often lonely. She lived in a separate suite in her family’s grand homes, often left alone. The ill health of her childhood followed her throughout much of her adult life, and she often had to have a nurse-companion. Read More→
Emma Lazarus (July 22, 1849 – November 17, 1887), American poet, translator, and activist. She’s best known for the poem “The New Colossus” (1883), whose lines, “Give me your tired, your poor …” are inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
As touching and world-famous as this poem has remained, it’s but a tiny portion of her body of work. The life of Emma Lazarus, brief as it would be, was filled with accomplishment, not only as a writer, but as an advocate for Jewish immigrants and refugees. Read More→