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Iowa History Daily: February 17 - Iowa Author Bess Streeter Aldrich

Iowa History Daily: On February 17, 1881, notable novelist Bess Streeter Aldrich was born in Cedar Falls. Best known for her work “The Woman Who Was Forgotten,” Aldrich authored more than a dozen novels over a long career.

 The youngest of the eight children born to James Wareham and Mary Wilson Anderson Streeter, Aldrich spent her childhood in Black Hawk County. While at Cedar Falls High School, she excelled in writing and won two magazine fiction-writing contests before graduating at the age of seventeen. She stayed in town to achieve a teaching certificate from the Iowa State Normal School (now University of Northern Iowa).

After marrying Charles Sweetzer Aldrich in 1907 and motherning four children, Aldrich won a Ladies’ Home Journal writing contest in 1911 for her story “The Little House Next Door.” A slew of publications followed with McCall’s, Harper’s Weekly, and The American Magazine where she wrote under the pen name Margaret Dean Stephens. 

Aldrich's first novel, Mother Mason, came out in 1924. The author of roughly 200 short stories, including "The Woman Who Was Forgotten" (adapted into a film of the same title in 1931), and thirteen novels, including Miss Bishop, Aldrich endures as one of the most important Iowa writers of her era. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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