Friday, July 7, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: July 7, 1908 - Harriette Simpson Arnow

   Image from www.kentuckycrosswords.com

From The Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Harriette Louise (Simpson) Arnow, author, was born to Elias and Mollie Jane (Denney) Simpson, on July 7, 1908, in Wayne County, Kentucky . She graduated from Burnside High School in Pulaski County, attended Berea College during 1924-26, then taught school in rural Pulaski County . She received her B.A. in science from the University of Louisville in 1930. For the next four years, she was a teacher and then principal at a high school in Pulaski County . In 1934 she taught junior high school in Louisville, then moved to Cincinnati to devote time to writing, including several short stories and her first novel, Mountain Path (1936), the first of her Kentucky trilogy. In 1936 one of her best short stories, " The Washerwoman's Day," was published in Southern Review.

Harriette Simpson married Harold B. Arnow in 1939, and they moved to a farm near Keno, Pulaski County, where she and her husband divided their time between farming and writing. In 1944 they moved to a housing project in Detroit, where he took a job with the Detroit Times. Arnow's second novel, Hunter's Horn (1944), was a best seller and brought her national acclaim as a novelist. This work portrays the life of a Kentucky hill farmer obsessed with the capture of an elusive red fox that he calls King Devil. In 1950 the Arnows moved to a farm near Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she finished her most popular novel, The Dollmaker (1954). This story, which completed her Kentucky trilogy, chronicles a Kentucky family's difficult World War II move from the mountains to a Detroit housing project, where they encounter economic uncertainty and social prejudices. The Dollmaker was made into a TV movie in 1983 starring Jane Fonda. Arnow's Seedtime On The Cumberland (1960), Flowering On The Cumberland (1963), and Old Burnside (1977) are social histories. The fictional The Weedkiller's Daughter (1970) was followed by The Kentucky Trace: A Novel Of The American Revolution (1975). The Kentucky Trace reflects Arnow's concerns about contemporary problems such as the destruction of the environment.

Arnow received the Kentucky Woman Of The Year Award in 1954, the Berea College Centennial Award and the Friends Of American Writers Award in 1955, an Award Of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History in 1960, and the Milner Award from the Kentucky Arts Council in 1983. In 1955 The Dollmaker won the National Book Award. Arnow was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame and received the Mark Twain Award For Midwestern Literature from Michigan State University. She also received honorary doctorates from Albion College in Michigan, Transylvania University , and the University of Kentucky . From 1978 until her death in 1986, she participated in the Hindman Settlement School's annual two-week writing workshop in Hindman, Kentucky .

Arnow and her husband had two children, Marcella and Thomas. On March 21, 1986, Arnow died at her Washtenaw County farm near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and her ashes were buried beside her husband's grave in Keno.

Selected Sources from UK Libraries:

Walsh, K. (1984). Hunter's horn ; Harriette Arnow's subversive tale.
PS3501.R64 Z6880 1984, Special Collections Research Center


Harrison, E., & Mayer, D. (1991). Female pastoral : Women writers re-visioning the American South (1st ed.). Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
PS261 .H25 1991, Special Collections Research Center


Arnow, H. (n.d.). Harriette Simpson Arnow (Kentucky Authors).
SC-V3397, Young Media Library

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