Bess Streeter Aldrich


Bess Streeter Aldrich

"Bess Streeter Aldrich brought a masterful realism and a determined optimism to short stories and novels about Midwestern families both contemporary and pioneer."
—Cedar Falls Historical Society, 1997

Bess Streeter Aldrich, born in Cedar Falls in 1881, gained national and international fame as an author of the Midwest experience, including strong female characters. After receiving her degree from Iowa State Normal School (now University of Northern Iowa), she taught school for five years in various Iowa communities before moving to Elmwood, Nebraska, where she spent the rest of her professional career. Her short stories appeared in many popular magazines, including Ladies Home Journal, American Magazine, Good Housekeeping, McCall's, and Cosmopolitan. Between 1924-42, she wrote nine novels including A Lantern in Her Hand and Miss Bishop, on which the movie Cheers for Miss Bishop was based. Aldrich draws upon her Iowa roots in Song of Years--the story of the founding of her home town, Cedar Falls. In 1949 the Iowa Library Association presented her with the Johnson Brigham Award that read, "To the Iowa author for the most outstanding contribution to literature." She died in 1954. Aldrich was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1998.