Ruth Suckow


“Ruth Suckow is especially interesting to young feminists because of her own life and because of her portrayal of many strong, independent women who refused to be placed in a mold."--Margaret Matlack Kiesel, 1978

Ruth Suckow was a writer whose novels and short stories reflected her Iowa background. A Hawarden native, she began her writing career as a poet, soon discovering that she could not earn a living from her poems. Suckow, therefore, mastered the art of beekeeping and supported herself by selling honey while she began writing novels and short stories. In the 1920s, Suckow was ranked as one of the top 10 American fiction writers by H.L. Mencken, a noted critic and publisher. Her writing is of special interest to feminists because of its portrayal of strong, independent women. Two of her novels, Country People and Iowa Interiors, were reissued in the 1970s in a series titled Rediscovered Fiction by American Women. Born in 1892, Suckow died in 1960. Suckow was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1978.

UPDATE: Suckow was honored in 1992, 32 years after her death and on the 100th anniversary of her birth date with Just Suppose, a one-woman play about her life, which was performed in seven Iowa communities where Suckow had ties. The play, written by Rebecca Christian of Dubuque and acted by Lenore Howard of Dubuque, is still performed today to special groups.