Half A Hundred Tales by Great American Writers

This 1945 first edition of Half a Hundred Tales by Great American Writers was purchased at Village Antiques and Collectibles in Succasunna, New Jersey. The work is an anthology compiled and edited by Charles Grayson, and includes esteemed American writers like John Cheever, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway.

I scanned the table of contents for a female author, but alas; nothing. There are a few initialed and androgynous pen names like “Ellery Queen,” but even Ellery is a man; two men in fact. Ellery Queen was a popular fictional male detective and pseudonym used by two cousins who wrote detective fiction short stories, which were later expanded into a radio series , films, a television show, graphic novels and even a board game.

Charles Grayson writes in the preface:

“One primary restriction, however, has been scrupulously observed—that the contributors all be living Americans. The gentlemen herein represented are all contemporary storytellers of our country.”

I suppose they weren’t too many active female writers in the time period immediately following World War II: Edith Wharton died before 1945; Flannery O’Connor still had a decade before publishing Wise Blood. But a few were alive and well, including Willa Cather, Margaret Mitchell and Zora Neale Hurston.

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