*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and University Archives.
On a special edition of “On This Day” and final edition of “Hoosier Authors”, we are celebrating the hundredth and fifty-fourth birthday of Hoosier author, Gene Stratton-Porter. To your surprise, Gene was not you expected because Gene was really Geneva Stratton.
Stratton was born on August 17, 1863 in Wabash County, Indiana. She was the youngest of twelve children; moreover, she had a difficult childhood. Her mother passed away when she was twelve. From a young age, Stratton became interested in nature such as birds, plants, and animals (Indiana Historical Society, n.d.). This would play a factor in and be “… remembered for her fiction rooted in the belief that communion with nature holds the key to moral goodness” (Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015).
In 1886, Stratton married her husband, Charles Porter, a druggist from Geneva, Indiana. Together, they had one daughter, Jeanette, born in 1887. Her family lived at the Limberlost Cabin, outside of Geneva, Indiana. Their home was located near swamp, leading her exploring the swamp through writing and photography. Her photographs and articles were used in Recreation and Outing (Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015; Indiana Historical Society, n.d.).
After publishing her works, Stratton decided to try her hand at writing literature; however, she used a pseudonym, Gene Stratton-Porter. In 1903, she published her first novel, Son of the Cardinal, and was a success. Her magnum opus was Freckles (1904), A Girl of the Limberlost (1909), and The Harvester (1911); however, she published books on nature studies and poetry/essays. By 1920, critics of Stratton proved to be overpowering and crushing to her esteem: her family moved to Los Angeles, California. Sadly, four years later, Stratton died in a car accident on December 6, 1924 (Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015; Indiana Historical Society, n.d.; Indiana State Museum, 2017).
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our next blog series!
Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (2015, May 14). Gene Stratton Porter. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gene-Stratton-Porter
Indiana Historical Society (n.d.) Gene Stratton-Porter. Retrieved from http://www.indianahistory.org/education/hoosier-facts-fun/famous-hoosiers/gene-stratton-porter#.WZGgC1WGNhE
Indiana State Museum (2017). Gene Stratton-Porter. Retrieved from https://www.indianamuseum.org/gsp