Bess Streeter Aldrich was born in Iowa in 1881, and lived to be 73 years of age. During the time she grew up, people did not have cars, electricity, or telephones. She lived and worked long enough to see one of her books made into a movie and one of her short stories turned into a TV show starring Angela Lansbury. In Hollywood, she also worked as a writer and advisor at Paramount Pictures.
Aldrich began writing as a child. Her first piece of writing was published when she was 14. After earning a college degree and getting married, she became very busy trying to take care of her home and family. At first she had no time to write. Then she began to find ways to squeeze it into her busy days by writing a little bit when her baby was asleep or when she was doing dishes. During this period, Aldrich was successful at writing short stories and getting them published.
Sadly, her husband died suddenly in 1925 leaving her a widow and single mother to 4 kids, ages 4 to 16 years. She realized that she would have to write to support them. Aldrich achieved the amazing feat of putting all of her children through college with earnings from the sale of her books and stories.
Elmwood, Nebraska, was the setting of most of Aldrich’s stories and books. She loved writing about small town and pioneering life. The Bess Streeter Aldrich House and Museum are located in Elmwood, Nebraska and allow you a look into the life of a remarkably hard working writer.
This is the second stop on our Nebraska Trail!
Rebecca Blake Beech