Alice Hegan Rice and Sandy

Alice Hegan Rice was born on January 11, 1870. As a child, she was always very creative and loved coming up with new ideas. She greatly enjoyed writing short stories and skits. This was probably one of the main reasons why she grew up to become an American writer. Not only was she an author of novels, but also some of her work was later adapted into film, as well. Alice is most famously known for writing Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, which was published in 1901. This novel came out as a movie in 1903. Similarly, in 1905, Alice published her novel, Sandy, which is the film that I have decided to focus on for this assignment. One thing that is very interesting about this novel is that it had actually been published in parts throughout the previous year and a half. Alice worked together with The Century Magazine to circulate her novel in smaller pieces. The Century Magazine was a magazine that was run by The Century Company. It was founded in 1881 and was based out of New York. After the entire novel came out as a series, it was finally published as a whole. One of the things that is most impressive about Alice Hegan Rice is the fact that The Century Company agreed to publish her work the first time she asked. At this period of time, this was usually not the case at all. Women had a very hard time being recognized for their work and being listened to by publishers, producers, editors, and directors. Women were very frequently turned down by companies because, at the time, it was standard to think that no woman could do a well enough job as a man could. So when the very first company that Alice Hegan Rice went to to see if she could publish her work agreed immediately, it was a very big deal that they said yes. This goes to show the incredible talent that Alice portrayed in her writing. Because of this, people like Alice Hegan Rice are the types of people that helped open the way for other women in the field of moviemaking, and other male dominated industries, to be able to come forward and show the world what they are capable of.

After some time, Alice’s novel was set to be adapted into a film and in 1918, this story was aired for the first time as a silent movie. It was directed by George Melford who worked for Paramount Pictures. This company had recently been founded in 1912 and was based out of Hollywood, like many other film production companies. Later that year, Alice Hegan Rice was able to adapt another one of her novels. This one was called Sunshine Nan. A few years after that, in 1926, her last novel that was adapted into a film was shown to the public. This movie was called Lovely Mary. Overall, Alice ended up writing twenty novels of which six were turned into films. One of the books, arguably her most famous one, Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage, was actually adapted into film four different times.

Below is a link that includes a short biography and little summaries for some of Alice’s novels.

http://www.online-literature.com/alice-rice/

Sources

“Rice, Alice Hegan (1870–1942).”. “Rice, Alice Hegan (1870–1942).” Women in World History: 

A Biographical Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia.com, 2019, 

www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rice-alice-

hegan-1870-1942.

Rice, Alice Hegan. “Biography of Alice Hegan Rice.” The Literature Network: Online Classic 

Literature, Poems, and Quotes. Essays & Summaries, www.online-literature.com/alice-rice/.

Wikipedia. “Sandy (1918 Film).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 July 2019, 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_(1918_film).

Wikipedia. “Sandy (Novel).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Dec. 2018, 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_(novel).

Wikipedia. “The Century Company.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Aug. 2019, 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_Company.

“Alice Hegan Rice Photo at Speed Museum.” WKU Libraries Blog

library.blog.wku.edu/2009/11/alice-hegan-rice-photo-at-speed-museum/.

“Sandy by Alice Hegan Rice Author of Mrs. Wiggs Of The Cabbage Patch.” EBay

www.ebay.com/itm/Sandy-by-Alice-Hegan-Rice-author-of-Mrs-Wiggs-Of-The-Cabbage-

Patch-/400327425254.

Nalbro Bartley: Author, Lecturer, and a Forgotten Figure in Screenwriting

Female authors and screenwriters were a dominant force in creating the storylines of the early 20th century films that have paved the way for the dazzling feature films we have today. Among those talented writers, was a woman by the name of Nalbro Bartley. On any given day, Bartley could have been found writing books and short stories, submitting works to newspapers and magazines, or delivering lectures. She wrote over 20 books, including at least 7 that were adapted into films. In fact, some of her works were published when she was still in her early twenties. And yet, despite her role in the world of literature and film, Bartley’s work remains largely under-recorded and underappreciated.

Bartley was born on November 10, 1888, in Buffalo, New York. Growing up with an older sister, she was the youngest of two siblings. Her affinity for creative work ran through her blood, as her father, William Bartley, was an entertainer. While little to nothing is known about her personal life, we do know that she got married three times, having a child with her second husband, Charles Leonard Shaw [1]. Based on her two divorces, it is likely that she was a woman of independence, willing to follow her own path without being chained down to a man. After all, her stories often center around women leads.

However, instead of breaking down all of her work, I chose to focus on one of her short stories that was later adapted into a movie: “The Cynic Effect.” This particular story was a comedy published in RedBook magazine in the 1920s. As of yet, I have not been able to locate a copy of the original text. Similarly, the movie it inspired, The Country Flapper, was nowhere to be found. Moreover, the song of the same name that accompanied the movie was gone from the records. All that we have to give us any indication of the contents of the story are the reviews and advertisements sparked by the film.

The Country Flapper, received a lot of its attention from its star lead, Dorothy Gish. The movie, directed by F. Richard Jones and produced by Producers Security, was made available to audiences in many major cities across the United States.

Both the short story and film were not an accurate representation of Bartley’s work to say the least. According to a review by Film Daily and the producer himself, the 5 reel film contained no plot whatsoever, merely chugging out comedic scenes [2]. If a plot were to be described, it is a story about a girl fighting for the love of a boy. In an attempt to win the boy from his disapproving father, she blackmails the father. However, the father burns the incriminating evidence, leaving the main character to settle instead with the shy boy that she got to help her with her scheme.

While the film was entertaining, it was torn to shreds by reviewers. The Times wrote that the story was “merely an assortment of stock rural characters and slap-stick small-town situations with the wit worn off them.[3]”

[1] https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0058939/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
[2]http://www.archive.org/stream/filmdaily2122newy#page/n372/mode/2up/search/Cynic+Effect
[3]http://www.archive.org/stream/filmdaily2122newy#page/n247/mode/1up

Fannie Hurst as an Author and Her Role in Film Adaptations of Back Street

Back Street (1931), a film of drama, romance, love affairs, death and more is the third and final remake of films based on one of Fannie Hurst’s best selling novels: Back Street. Fannie Hurst was one of the most well known female authors of the 20th century. She published over 300 shorts stories and many novels, three of which were bestsellers when published. Hurst’s work consisted of drama, romantic themes, as well as inequality issues of her day. Many believe Hurst’s interest in the inequality faced by women, African Americans, homosexuals, jews and other opposed groups is due to her unfortunate upcoming. Before the age of 16, she had lost a sister and lived at 11 different boarding houses. After selling a book and lyrics for a comic opera, she briefly worked at a shoe factory then decided to move to New York to pursue writing. Upon early arrival, she worked as a waitress and sales clerk where she got to witness the issues of the day. She was so passionate about this group of people that she would attend night court sessions. As she says, she was becoming “passionately anxious to awaken in others a general sensitiveness to small people.” 

Her work was not very successful in the beginning. She was rejected 35 times before being able to sell her work. However, her story stories and novels soon took off quickly because they were the content that every publisher at the time was looking for. It was post World War I, an era when publishers were trying to appeal primarily to a female audience. They loved her work because the sentimental and romantic themes found in her short stories and novels did exactly that. In addition to Hurst’s work, her editor, Kenneth McCormink, was known as the “Queen of the Sob Sisters.” Meaning she was also good at sparking emotional responses from female readers. Eventually, Hurst started earning about $5,000 per story. She became one of the highest paid authors in the United States. It was said that “no other living American woman has gone so far in fiction in so short a time.”

In today’s time, however, she is mainly remembered for the film adaptations of her works, including Back Street. The first film made based on her novel Back Street was in 1932 directed by John M. Stahl. The second adaptation was in 1941 and the last one in 1961. All published by Universal Pictures. There is also a film written by Frank Capra, Forbidden that uses elements of Hurst’s novel without crediting her. 

The back street 1961 is the most recent and popular of the films and can even be purchased on amazon today! The plot of this film is about a romantic fling between a wealthy married man, Paul, and a dress-shop owner, Rae Smith. Throughout the movie, they go through several emotional conflicts and Paul ends up dying after a car crash caused by a fight with his wife (as can be seen in the image below).

Citations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Hurst

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054653/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_Street_(1961_film)

Edith Elizabeth Roberts – A Celebrated, American Female Poet and Prose Writer

Edith Elizabeth Kneipple Roberts, author of 1946 novel That Hagen Girl, definitely had a way with words. Her exquisite dactylic abilities led her to publish a multitude of poems in her high school yearbooks just as a young teenager and even a poem about World War II in her local newspaper. Her senior quote read “I always say just what I mean.” Little did she know how significantly those very words would apply to her future success as an author.

Kneipple-1.jpg
One of the very few pictures taken of Edith Roberts. Here, we see her portrait in a copy of one of her novels, “Reap the Whirlwind” (1938).

Considered as one of her most reputed works and published by Doubleday, the largest publishing company at the time, That Hagen Girl was made into a film of the same title the following year, starring Ronald Reagan and Shirley Temple. The film was directed by Peter Godfrey and distributed by Warner Bros. Despite the great success of the book, the film adaptation did not fare well and received a profusion of negative reviews from many renowned critics at the time.

Image result for that hagen girl posters
Film poster of “That Hagen Girl” (1947), starring Ronald Reagan and Shirley Temple in the lead roles.

Originally born Edith Elizabeth Kneipple, Roberts was born in Grant County, Indiana in 1902. Although her high school years seemed to have jumpstart her early success in her career as a distinguished writer, she was faced with the burden of losing her mother who died during her sophomore year. Rather than succumbing to the emotional distress, Roberts embraced it and produced expressive, rich poetry which is what I truly believe showcased her determination and passion to become a staunch female author.

Roberts subsequently graduated from the University of Chicago in 1923 and served as special supervisor of English of the Department of Education in Puerto Rico for almost over ten years, as her husband worked as the secretary to the Governor there. There, she was involved in several miscellaneous projects, including assisting the late American physician Bailey K. Ashford in writing his autobiography. As an avid educational activist, Roberts also wrote numerous children’s books during this time. She decided to create books that served as English readers as well as supplementary material in public secondary schools in Puerto Rico and the United States. She traveled back to Indiana in 1928 to research different methods of education and apply them to Puerto Rican schools.

Roberts resided in Central Europe for one year – perhaps to gain new experiences and memories and use these to expand her ambit for potential narratives of her forthcoming books. Ultimately throughout her lifetime, she has written a total of seven novels, with a majority based in towns similar to Huntington, where she spent her entire childhood. Four were made into films, which consist of Reap the Whirlwind (1938), referenced to the time she lived in Bulgaria where its Belgrade backdrop in the midst of political unrest appeared to prophesy world war, and the book of focus for my research, That Hagen Girl, a dramatic novel regarding complex romantic relationships.

As the 1950s neared, Roberts bid adieu to fiction and returned to hometown Huntington to eventually begin working at Coronet, the Chicago-based monthly “pseudo-equivalent” of today’s People magazine. It’s said that with the amount of color and detail Roberts would include in her stories, they could pass as notes for a Hollywood set designer.

With the amount of experiences, creativity, and attention to detail that Roberts had, its upsetting to see that there are barely any archives or articles that talk about her as a pioneer of fictional writing or her work directly. Hopefully, as I continue with my research, I’ll be able to find more resources to dig deeper into the story of Edith Elizabeth Roberts.

 

Works Cited:

“Edith Elizabeth (Kneipple) Roberts.” WikiTree, 14 Jan. 2018, www.wikitree.com/wiki/Kneipple-1#Marriages.

Frank, Grace. “Small Town Malice.” The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection, 16 Nov. 1946, www.unz.com/print/SaturdayRev-1946nov16-00034/.

“That Hagen Girl.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Sept. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Hagen_Girl#Critical_reception.

Wolff, Alexander. “Indiana’s Town of Champions.” Indiana’s Town of Champions, Library of America, 9 Mar. 2018, storyoftheweek.loa.org/2018/03/indianas-town-of-champions.html.

Of Honeymoon Hate, and a Historical Update

A photograph of A.M. Williamson, from her Wikipedia page. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Muriel_Williamson

Introduction

What does it mean to be forgotten? To be lost? Our short perception of our time here on this planet can be briefly summarized in the information we choose to remember, and the information others choose to remember about us. While this is but one piece of humanity’s great flaws, it has been flung into the limelight as modern humanity recognizes that, over the past century, its recent predecessors had carelessly tossed aside the work and memory of countless women who shaped world progress, specifically in the early film industry through the writing of film scenarios, scripts, short stories, and novels. When discussing the early 20th century, most people nowadays will understand why, but there is no need to scorn those who don’t. Ignorance is neither bliss nor crime, and once the veil is lifted on the truth, the consensus is nearly unanimous.

Misogynistic men are, simply put, the worst.

Overview

My own exploration of this forgotten history begins with the title of a lost film, Honeymoon Hate, a silent, black and white production inspired by a short story of the same name, written by A.M. Williamson, or Alice Muriel Williamson.

(We shall politely ignore, for the moment, the fact that many, if not most, of her publications were credited to both her and her husband. We will do this because he contributed nearly nothing to her works.)

After about five minutes of research I came to two related conclusions (or rather, assumptions). First, due to the fact that there are vastly more references and publications of Williamson’s other works, Honeymoon Hate likely had terrible, or at least less successful, reception. Whether this was due to a lack of appeal of the short story or the film adaptation is unknown as of yet. Second, or rather jointly, I realized that that the human process of remembering the good and discarding the bad applies to media as well. I understand that this may seem like an obvious assumption, but it should be noted that the consequences of “forgetting” old media were drastically different in the days where stories and film did not have hundreds, if not thousands, if not millions of invisible copies floating around the world, represented in virtually invisible sequences of flowing electrons. Fortunately, there are many people who are actively trying to reclaim the past, such as Richard E. Rex, who published a historical record detailing the known life and works of A.M. Williamson.

(It can be assumed from here on that a significant amount of the information I uncovered was either detailed in the book or pointed to by a reference the book held, although I have cited/linked every source used to share information here at the bottom of this post.)

Publication and Film Release

Through the few known references to the existence of Honeymoon Hate, it appears as though the short story was first published in an edition of The Saturday Evening Post, specifically the one from July 9th, 1927. The story made its rounds worldwide, appearing in editions of periodicals in other countries, such as France, New Zealand, and Australia. Later, in 1931, Williamson also expanded the story into a novel and it was published at least three times, all with different publishing companies in London, starting with Chapman & Hall. I have not yet located a surviving copy of this publication by any of the three that are listed. However, shortly after the original short story was published, Paramount Pictures developed and released a film adaptation, directed by Luther Reed, on December 3, 1927. A short synopsis is given below from the site AllMovie.com:

     “Snobbish socialite Gail Grant (Florence Vidor) is accustomed to getting everything she wants. Thus, when she storms into a Venetian antique shop and announces her intention of buying a rare tapestry to transform into a gown, she fully expects the staff to grovel at her feet. Instead, the owner of the shop refuses to sell her the tapestry at any price. Little does Gail suspect that the shop owner is actually Prince Danitari (Tullio Carminatti), whose war debts have forced him to go into the antique business. Though Gail walks out of the shop in a huff, the Prince is fascinated by her, thus he hires himself out as her tour guide, with the intention of pulling a “taming of the shrew” act. Ultimately, Gail and the Prince are married — but who ends up taming whom?”

As of now, this is the only record I have found describing what sort of story this movie told. Interestingly, four years after the initial release, a Spanish adaptation of the movie, titled El príncipe gondolero, was completed and released on September 10th, 1931. Interestingly, IMDb lists this production as one with sound, explaining the need for a remake for Spanish audiences. However, all searches related to the survival or loss of the film have turned up nothing but dead ends, and websites of a frightening nature.

Conclusion

It should be prominently noted that Alice Muriel Williamson wrote an enormous library of novels and short stories, many of which were made into film adaptations, and were, as previously stated, apparently far more successful. Many more references exist, and while many are indeed also lost, it is beyond likely that at least one still survives. Human history is malleable, imperfect, and passes by all too quickly for us to fully comprehend. Virgil once said, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time”. While no one is ever truly lost, it never hurts to illuminate the path for others who might wish to add their own historical update.

 

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeymoon_Hate

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Muriel_Williamson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Reed

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0135454/

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0209257/?ref_=tt_trv_cnn

Rex, Richard E. Alice Muriel Williamson: the Secret History of an American-English Author. Mill City Press, Inc, 2016.

(This book is a recent publication compiling what may be nearly all known information about A.M. Williamson as well as an extensive and detailed list of her publications, both short stories and novels. Needless to say, this is where a large sum of my publication information came from.)

All Her Ex’s Live in Texas

Lucy Gallant is quite an undeterred woman. Setting aside her past and current relationships, Lucy ventures out to establish her clothing business in the city of New City, Texas. She encounters many challenges during her business endeavor, from logistical issues concerning loans and brothels to conflicting love interests with multiple individuals.

A poster of the movie Lucy Gallant. Retrieved from IMDB

Like many emblematic personalities in her day, Lucy was the brainchild of author Sue Margaret Cousins, an individual who made numerous contributions to the fields of literature and journalism. Cousins published several novels and received many accolades during her decades long career, most notably the J.C. Penney – University of Missouri Award for Excellence in Magazine Writing.

Despite Cousins’ success and reputation, she is often unrecognized in today’s society. So, who exactly was she?

Sue Margaret “Maggie” Cousins’ story begins on January 26th of 1905. Born to a pharmacist and housewife, Maggie quickly found interest in literature by working as an editor for her father’s trade magazine The Southern Pharmaceutical Journal. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in English and moved on to serve as an editor for numerous other publications and journals.

Cousins crafted countless short stories for Pictorial Review, fashioned many advertisements for Hearst Magazines, and helped propel novels like Hurry Sundown into the spotlight during her time with Doubleday & Company. Maggie also maintained several senior editing positions with publications including Good Housekeeping and McCall’s.

It was during this time in her life that Cousins truly focused on the art of telling stories. One of her more famed short stories and the subject of my research, The Life of LucyGallant, was first published in the May 1953 issue of Good Housekeeping. It became an instant hit with readers and was subsequently was adapted into a Paramount Pictures film entitled Lucy Gallant. It premiered in New York in 1955, featuring renowned director Robert Parrish and an ensemble casting including Jane Wyman and Charlton Heston.

Lucy Gallant’s strong character and emphatic personality struck thematic chords with its female audience, receiving high praise from critics for its “warm view of feminine extravagance” and “absolute elegance of plush” (Crowther). It grossed over $1.3 million dollars (roughly $12.5 million when adjusted for inflation) during its lifetime in theaters and was screened in several countries around the world, from Portugal to the United States.

Although The Life of Lucy Gallant was certainly one of Sue Margaret Cousins’ great accomplishments, it was also one of many. Cousins also wrote quite a few popular children’s novels that are still in publication today, including Benjamin Franklin of Old Philadelphia (1952) and Thomas Alva Edison (1965). In addition, Cousins made editing contributions to popular films like Colleen Moore’s Dollhouse and Margaret Truman’s Souvenir. Cousins was also one of many editors that worked on the autobiographies of President Lyndon B. Johnson and First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. Some of aspirations were pursued under pen names like William Masters, Mary Parrish, and Avery Johns.

After a decorated career in the literary arts, Sue Margaret Cousins finally settled down in the city of San Antonio, Texas. She continued to write short stories and also focused on some of her other passions, including environmental conservation, public education, and philosophy.

 

Margaret Cousins. From Exodus Books

Cousins ultimately passed away on July 30th of 1996, leaving behind a trailblazing legacy of creativity, inspiration, and leadership. At the time, she was one of the few women that held high positions in the fields of journalism and literature – paving the way for countless more to join her.

Link to Lucy Gallant (1955): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW1YIrZjSkQ

Works Cited

Crowther, Bosley. “Screen: Fashion Show in Boom Town; Lucy Gallant’ Wins Texan at Victoria Producing Team Makes Concession to Women.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Oct. 1955, https://www.nytimes.com/1955/10/21/archives/screen-fashion-show-in-boom-town-lucy-gallant-wins-texan-at.html.

Express-News, San Antonio. “JOURNALIST MAGGIE COUSINS, 91.” Sun Sentinel, 4 Aug. 1996, https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-1996-08-04-9608030299-story.html.

“Lucy Gallant.” American Film Institute, https://catalog.afi.com/catalog/showcase.

“Margaret Cousins, Fiction Writer, 91.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Aug. 1996, https://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/02/arts/margaret-cousins-fiction-writer-91.html.

Variety Magazine, Jan. 1956, https://archive.org/stream/variety201-1956-01#page/n688/mode/1up/search/”lucy gallant”.

Beatrice Burton and The Gigantic Hearst Circulation: Connections Matter

“Lois Wilson in Sally’s Shoulders.” IMDb

Setting out to begin research on Beatrice Burton’s Sally’s Shoulders, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly had never heard of her or the film, but admittedly I was surprised when there didn’t seem to be a lot of search results. I couldn’t find much information on the author, and there was even less about Lynn Shores, the director. This left me to wonder: what was it that made this film successful?

Continue reading “Beatrice Burton and The Gigantic Hearst Circulation: Connections Matter”

Vina Delmar: From Performer to Writer

Vina Delmar’s success was no secret – from being nominated for an Academy Award to being starred on movie posters even above actors’ names, she left her mark on literature and film adaptation. This American writer extraordinaire not only wrote best-selling short stories, but she was a savvy screenwriter whose lack of acting skills could surely be excused by her writing talent.

from Wikipedia

Inside Vina Delmar’s Life

Vina Delmar was born Alvina Louise Croter on January 29, 1903 in Brooklyn, New York as the daughter of two vaudeville performers. Upon further research, I learned that vaudeville refers to an allied network of theatres in which agents organize independent acts to flow together, much like what I interpret to be a variety show. Delmar lived a nomadic lifestyle in her infant years with her parents touring the vaudeville circuit. This migratory lifestyle, however, ended when she was 8 years old and her mother retired from the stage and they resided in Brooklyn again. It was around this age when Delmar picked up her first pen and began to handwrite stories. Her interest commenced at this age, but was interrupted when her mother passed away in 1916. Her father moved them to the Bronx, where she had allegedly experienced firsthand the conflicts of social classes and issues through her father’s shady neighborhood friends. These encounters impacted her storylines, which will be later mentioned. Anyhow, Delmar herself became a performer on the vaudeville stage by age 16. To say she was unsuccessful in her acting career would be an understatement. To make ends meet, she took on small theatre tech employments instead in the 1920s. In 1921, Delmar married a man named Albert Zimmerman, but more prominently known as Eugene Delmar (his stage name). Although he was a radio announcer and a writer, the only available information on him is linked to Vina, suggesting that his range of influence was more limited than his successful wife. Some called them “partners in crime,” but in actuality Vina was the brains of the operation while Eugene was simply a cog in the wheel. Since Vina had only attended school until the age of 13, she needed major help with writing and editing of her stories. This didn’t stop her intellect from flowing though, and although Eugene rarely received any credit in her published works, she considered them to be a team. In 1924, they had a son named Gray, but he would later be killed in an automobile racing accident in 1966. The married couple resided in Scarsdale, New York until 1940, when they followed their son to live in California. When Eugene passed away, some claim that Vina “ceased to be productive as a writer.” However, this cannot discount her many years of writing success.

 

Vina Delmar’s “A Chance at Heaven”

The short story, “A Chance at Heaven” was by far not Delmar’s most famous piece, but it did come from close to her heart. Briefly touching on the content of the plot, the main character gets pregnant and moves to New York – a setting that Delmar is all too familiar with. The book never got many reviews, but instead the film adaptation of it blew up. In my research, it was hard to find any information about the book itself, but the movie does appear to be a hit. She had written it as a short story, but many refer to it just as filmography.  

 

Link to magazine review of “A Chance at Heaven”: http://lantern.mediahist.org/catalog/newmoviemagazine08weir_0575

 

Works Cited:

 

“Viña Delmar.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 July 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viña_Delmar.

Vaudeville Circuits, http://www.jcs-group.com/entertain/stage/circuits.html.

“Author: Viña Delmar.” Vintage Bookseller, https://vintagebookseller.myshopify.com/pages/author-vina-delmar.

PeoplePill. “Viña Delmar: Playwright, Screenwriter, Novelist – Biography, Life, Family, Career, Works, Facts.” PeoplePill, https://peoplepill.com/people/vina-delmar/.

“Chance at Heaven (1933).” The Blonde at the Film, 10 Apr. 2017, https://theblondeatthefilm.com/2015/11/11/chance-at-heaven/.

Viña Delmar (1903-90) – Draft, https://www.jmcvey.net/hdwe/film/vd.htm.

“Vina Delmar; Adapted ‘The Awful Truth’ for the Screen.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 28 Jan. 1990, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1990-01-28-mn-1265-story.html.

The Other Half

“Sometimes I like to hang out with people who aren’t that bright. You know, just to see how the other half lives,” said Mike Ross to Harvey Specter in his interview to join the prestigious law firm Pearson Hardman in the legal drama Suits. Some people, like Mike and Harvey, live to categorize and thrive off of their superiority to the “other half.” Their pride is constituted from the very fact that they could never stoop so low. Today, we take a look at what happens when you journey into the other half, or well, when one person does.

Alice Hegan Rice was a novelist who is most famous for her work, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. She was brought up in Kentucky during the late 19th century. Her involvement with the Sunday school that she attended introduced her to a wide range of people including lots of underprivileged people that resided in an area called “the Cabbage Patch” (Encyclopedia). Instead of embracing elitism, Alice was inspired to continually interact and help “the other half.” This eventually became the inspiration for the novel which covers a woman who maintains optimism despite misfortune falling upon her(Kelder). Rice was married shortly after the publication of her book(Boewe).

Unfortunately, Alice Hegan Rice is among a group of women whose work became noticeable less credited despite its significance. Based upon my preliminary research, I was able to come up with these reasons as to why history may have overlooked her:

  1. Getting old much? Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch has five separate movies. In fact, some people say that the one of the versions of the film is just a replica of an older film with different actors. In most modern movies, whenever there is a reboot or even a sequel that follows the original movie, it generally gets a lot of negative reviews(e.g. Independence Day or Tron). Most people I know didn’t even like the new Lion King. Given that this seems to be a common trend, among movies, it probably would apply to a period when film was still developing and progressing. The part that astonishes me is that five separate directors all chose to do a film version of the same book. It would make complete sense that it was overdone and got old.
  2. Mark Twain!!!! Both Alice and Twain had books set in the Victorian Era, but Alice looked up to Mark Twain. In particular, she really admired the way he used language and characterization in his books(Richey). But, this respect was not reciprocal. Twain would often criticize Rice for her incorrect views of the Victorian Era and attempted to point out all the errors she made in her books.
  3. Poor crediting :(. Both of the images below are ads for the film adaptation of Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch. One noticeable aspect of both of these is that the credit given to Alice Hegan Rice is very small and overshadowed by the other text on the rest of the page. People who would just skim the ad or gloss over it quickly would be unable to learn about the author. Additionally, some sources that I glossed over falsely credited or labeled Alice’s work. A book she wrote called Happiness Road was falsely credited as an autobiography on a website. In fact, a wikisource website didn’t even have it listed as one of her works. After skimming through the book to find out more information about her, I realized it was just a book about the morals and values that Alice finds important.

Check here for ads(not letting me put the image directly): https://archive.org/stream/motionpicturenew102unse#page/n748/mode/2up

https://archive.org/stream/motionpictureher149unse#page/n347/mode/2up

At this moment, I am unable to attribute any other factors, such as gender or other social aspects, to the historical erasure that has occurred. That said, it is seemingly suspect that such an important piece of work that centers around a woman authority has not been given huge historical weight. It was quite hard to find this information about her. Two noticeable aspects in my research made me concerned about  potential gender discrimination. First, Mark Twain’s writing was mainly from the standpoint of the Victorian male and it seems evident that Alice Hegan Rice’s writing was from the standpoint of the Victorian female. The robust criticism she received from Twain seems overdone and it seems rather obvious that the lifestyles led by men and women in the Victorian Era would be very different. It is possible that Twain and anyone who believed his criticism of Rice invoke gendered logic. Second, Rice’s husband seems to have done better historically speaking. When I looked him up, the third google result was a 250 page research article done on him. I am unaware which of them was more popular, but my intuition is that the writer who had films made from her books would be more popular than a poet. Given the lack of primary source knowledge though, I cannot be certain about my conclusion. It appears that I might need to journey into “the other half” of history to find out more.

Works Cited

“Rice, Alice Hegan (1870–1942).”. “Rice, Alice Hegan (1870–1942).” Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia.com, 2019, https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rice-alice-hegan-1870-1942.
“Author:Alice Hegan Rice.” Alice Hegan Rice – Wikisource, the Free Online Library, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:Alice_Hegan_Rice.
Bere, Jenny Rose. “Cale Young Rice : a Study of His Life and Works.” ThinkIR: The University of Louisville’s Institutional Repository, https://ir.library.louisville.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2683&context=etd.
Boewe, Mary. Beyond the Cabbage Patch: the Literary World of Alice Hegan Rice. Butler Books, 2010.
“BOOK REVIEW.” Beyond the Cabbage Patch – Alice Hegan Rice, http://www.twainweb.net/reviews/Rice.html.
Kelder, Christopher. “Alice Hegan Rice Archives.” Under Main, https://under-main.com/tag/alice-hegan-rice/.
Motion Picture Herald, https://archive.org/stream/motionpictureher149unse#page/n347/mode/2up.
Motion Picture News (Oct 1914-Jan 1915), https://archive.org/stream/motionpicturenew102unse#page/n748/mode/2up.
Rice, Alice Hegan. Happiness Road. Books for Libraries Press, 1968.
“Suits | Season 1, Episode 1: Harvey Meets Mike for the First Time | 100 Days of Suits.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 Aug. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8fT-ebe3Fo.

Eleanor Mercein Kelly

Eleanor Mercein Kelly. An author from Wisconsin whose name doesn’t appear in the Wikipedia page about her own novel’s film adaptation. Her former name was Eleanor Royce Mercein, and she was born in Milwaukee, WI on August 30th, 1880. Her parents, Thomas Royce Mercein and Lucy Schley Mercein, sent her to the Seventh Ward school. She showed impressive potential at that school, earning herself a first place medal for sight reading and having the highest general average there. Afterwards, she went to Georgetown Visitation Monastery for high school where she received a fairly traditional education. There she felt that her “predilection for writing…could have full play for expansion” (Milwaukee). This ended up having a major impact on her, leading to her advocating the importance of introducing children to literature. Kelly felt that familiarizing children with great literature would help them develop their imaginations and enrich their experiences in life. She graduated as the Valedictorian of her class, and went on to focus on her career. 

Kelly drew her inspiration from travel. She felt one could not really write about somewhere they hadn’t been before, and always made a point to visit a place at least twice before she wrote about it. Sadly, this meant she had to get away from Milwaukee to create her stories. “I simply cannot write here,” she told the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1932 (Milwaukee). She decided to leave Wisconsin, and  moved down to Louisville, Kentucky. There she married Robert M Kelly, and she wrote three of her more successful books including the novel Kildares of Storm. Unfortunately, she eventually began to feel that she was running out of ideas in Louisville. Rather than uproot her life, though, Kelly decided to continue to stay there and write about more exotic places. 

Kelly often wrote short stories to be published in magazines including the Ladies Home Journal, the Century, and the Saturday Evening Post. The bulk of her known work appeared to be fictional novels including some centering around strong female characters such as The Mansion House, Kildares of Storm, and Why Joan?. She also wrote released one nonfiction work, a biography about another woman. Basquerie, one of her novels, is thought to have had three film adaptations and Kildares of Storm was also adapted into a film, though it has unfortunately been lost. 

Kildares of Storm was one of the first books Eleanor Mercein Kelly wrote after moving to Kentucky. The story takes place on a plantation known as “Storm” which is managed by Kate Kildare, the protagonist. She finds her husband, Basil, to be somewhat detestable and falls in love with his best friend, Jacques, instead. After her husband is found murdered, Jacques is blamed and is arrested before being pardoned 5 years later. He spends his time trying to help people at a sanitarium. Eventually, the Kildares’ old housekeeper confesses to the murder of Basil, and Jacques is absolved of the crime. Kelly’s novel was published in October 1916 by The Century Co in New York. 

Kildares of Storm was digitized by the Ohio State University, and can be found here, on Google Books, or on Amazon as a free Kindle book.

 

Sources

The Milwaukee Sentinel (pages 30 and 32)  

Internet Archive – Eleanor Mercein Kelly (note: that article just leads back to this Wikipedia page)

The 1995 Wisconsin Census 

Eleanor Mercein Kelly on Find a Grave

The American Review of Reviews, Volume 52 (page 8)

The Kentucky Encyclopedia  (Page 485)

Kildare of Storm (film) Wikipedia page

Kildares of Storm (book)