Harriette Arnow; Writing Through History

October 29, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, Social history

Harriette Simpson Arnow (born in 1908 under the name Harriette Louisa Simpson), started her young life in the southern Kentucky area of Pulaski County. Although Harriette’s true passion was always to become a teacher, she would ultimately become a very successful writer when it was all said and done. After spending a couple of years at Berea College and two years at the University of Louisville, Harriette spent some time teaching in a one room school house back in her native county.

Over the next few years Harriette would continue to educate kids in Pulaski County as well as pursue her goals of becoming a great writer for her time. Of course, for the time it was, women still would face discrimination in all shapes and forms simply because women were wrongfully viewed as “inferior” to men. Because of this, for Harriette’s two first writing works entitled “A Mess of Pork” and “Marigold and Mules” had to be published under the pseudonym H. L. Simpson, along with a photo of her brother-in-law just so it could be published in Esquire.

After continuing to put out great work over the next 30 years or so, Harriette would eventually move to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1950. Here she would publish one of her most noted books, The Dollmaker, a story about herself as a young poor Kentucky girl forced to move to Detroit out of economic necessity. Harriette Simpson Arnow died in 1986 at the old age of 77 and would forever be known as a great female writer that worked to break down many social and gender barriers for women of the 20th century.

2 responses to Harriette Arnow; Writing Through History

  1. Thanks for posting about Harriette. This story was a common theme for many families during WWII. Work could be found in the auto industry. Michigan is my home state, and while in high school our drama club put on a performance based from her book.

  2. Women like her you never here about or read in your daily history books, but her barriers that she broke down made it where women can be respected and their voice can be heard.

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