Indiana Women Writers

Hunting for a great read? Look no further than these Indiana Women Writers!
Elisabeth Hamilton Friermood’s (1903-1992) books include “Peppers’ Paradise”. Set in the late 1920s, teen Pepper finds a way to save the family's movie theater Paradise from the competition of radio. Her “Hoosier Heritage'' (1954) documents Wabash, Indiana as the first city in the world to have electric street lights, March 31, 1880.
Mabel Leigh Hunt (1892-1971) wrote about Quaker life and growing up in Greencastle and Plainfield, Indiana.
Miriam E. Mason (1900-1973) was born on a family farm in Goshen, Indiana, attended school in Martinsville, Indiana, IU Bloomington and Ball State in Muncie, IN. Mason primarily wrote books about growing up surrounded by nature, visitors, and family life including, “The Birthday Cake and Other Stories (A Magic Bridge Reader)”.
Emily Kimbrough (1899-1989) wrote about her European travels and cherished memories. Born in Muncie, Indiana, she attended Bryn Mawr, worked at Marshall Field’s in Chicago in the 1920s where the customer was always right, as recounted in “Through Charley’s Door” (1952), and co-wrote about her travels to England and France with Cornelia Otis Skinner in “Our Hearts Were Young and Gay”. While Kimbrough raised a family and settled in New York, the Emily Kimbrough Historic District pays tribute to her in Muncie, Indiana. Per a loyal customer,
“I rediscovered Emily Kimbrough several months ago, when I was unpacking books after a move and pulled out Floating Island, the amusing saga of her travels with several friends on a converted river barge in Ireland… it took me back not only to Ireland, … but also to a simpler, saner, more civilized era. Since then, I have found that all of her books work the same magic.”
This customer's comments lured me into reading “The Innocents from Indiana'' and I’m so grateful! Emily’s story of her family’s move from Muncie, Indiana to Chicago in the early 1900s is laugh-out-loud funny. If your kids have done some outlandish things, they may be put to shame by Emily and Brother! Lively drawings by Alice Harvey (Emily’s other books are illustrated by greats like cartoonist Helen Hokanson and Mircea Vasiliu, also an author in his own rite).
Sallyann J. Murphey, a producer for the BBC World Service at 23, wrote her first, nationally acclaimed book, “Bean Blossom Dreams: A City Family’s Search for a Simple Country Life” (1994) while living in Brown County, Indiana. A year later, Murphey authored the first work of original fiction ever commissioned by Hallmark and Better Homes & Gardens, "Emma’s Christmas Wish". She is currently working on “The Happiness Project: A Survival Guide for Aging Baby Boomers”.
Nancy Niblack Baxter (born in Indianapolis 1934) and husband Art (1932-2022) published over 250 biographies and books on American and Civil War history as Guild Press/Guild Press Emmis Books LP/Hawthorne Publishing of Carmel, Indiana where she is currently senior editor. Nancy has written 11 books on Indiana history and was awarded the Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award in History from the Indiana Historical Society in 2000.
Gene Stratton-Porter (1863-1924) was born on a Wabash County farm in Lagro, Indiana, the youngest of 12 children. Her novels involve nature studies with birds as a common theme, along with romantic coincidences, wealthy families, and surprise endings - similar techniques to Nicholson’s “House of a Thousand Candles” (1905). Stratton-Porter’s “Freckles” (1904),”Laddie” (1913) and “Wildflower Woods” (1905/Sylvan Lake) were translated to the big screen.
Bloomington, Indiana resident, Dark Rain Thom wrote “Kohkumthena’s Grandchildren: The Shawnee” (1994). The Shawnee and Algonquin elder, a traditional elder and tribal historian, co-authored “Warrior Woman: The Exceptional Life Story of Nonhelema, Shawnee Indian Woman Chief” (2004) with husband, James Alexander Thom (1933-2023).
Jessamyn West (1902-1984) is an award-winning author who was born in southern Indiana. Two of her books based on the Quaker family Birdwell are “The Friendly Persuasion” (1945) and “Except For Me and Thee” (1969). West also wrote poetry, non-fiction, screenplays and an opera. Human nature was evident in her realistic portrayals, including teens and women.