Atherton, Gertrude


Atherton, Gertrude

▪ American author
née  Gertrude Franklin Horn  
born Oct. 30, 1857, San Francisco, Calif., U.S.
died June 14, 1948, San Francisco
 American novelist, noted as an author of fictional biography and history. Atherton's biography of Nikolay Petrovich Rezanov appeared in the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (see the Britannica Classic: Nicolai Petrovich de Rezánov).

      Gertrude Horn grew up in a prosperous neighbourhood of her native San Francisco until her parents' divorce and thereafter mainly on the San Jose ranch of her maternal grandfather, under whose stern discipline she was introduced to serious literature. She attended St. Mary's Hall school in Benicia, California, and, for a year, Sayre Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. In February 1876 she eloped with George H.B. Atherton, who had been courting her now twice-divorced mother.

      Her life at the Atherton estate, Fair Oaks (now Atherton), California, was an unhappy one dominated by her mother-in-law. Despite her husband's attempts to stifle her, she managed to write a novel, The Randolphs of Redwoods; based on a local society scandal, its serial publication in the San Francisco Argonaut in 1882, though unsigned, outraged the family. (The novel was published in book form as A Daughter of the Vine in 1899.) The death of her husband in 1887 released her, and she promptly traveled to New York City and thence in 1895 to England and continental Europe. In rapid succession she produced books set in those locales or in old California, and the information she accumulated in her travels lent vividness to her writing. Her work generally drew mixed reviews, with the notable exception of The Conqueror (1902), a novelized account of the life of Alexander Hamilton. Atherton did extensive research for this book, and the result won her critical acclaim and made the book a best-seller. Her controversial novel Black Oxen (1923), the story of a woman revitalized by hormone treatments and based on Atherton's own experience, was her biggest popular success.

      Atherton wrote more than 40 novels in her long career, as well as many nonfiction works. Her work is uneven in quality, perhaps because of the rapidity with which she wrote, but at its best it displays strength and a talent for vivid description. Most of her novels featured strong-willed, independent heroines active in the world at large, and not infrequently their success stemmed from the characters' frank pursuit of sexual as well as other pleasures. Adventures of a Novelist (1932) was an autobiography, as was in part My San Francisco: A Wayward Biography (1946).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gertrude Atherton — Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton (October 30, 1857 – June 14, 1948) was an American writer. BiographyShe was born in San Francisco and lived in California all her life. She eloped with George H.B. Atherton when she was only 19, and had two… …   Wikipedia

  • Gertrude Atherton — (1904) Gertrude Franklin Atherton (Geburtsname: Gertrude Franklin Horn) (* 30. Oktober 1857 in San Francisco, Kalifornien; † 14. Juni 1948 ebenda) war eine US amerikanische Schriftstellerin. Biografie Nach dem Besuc …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Atherton —   [ æθətn], Gertrude Franklin Horn, amerikanische Schriftstellerin, * San Francisco 30. 10. 1857, ✝ ebenda 14. 6. 1948. Ihre Romane, Erzählungen und Essays behandeln meist Gesellschaft, Geschichte und Landschaft Kaliforniens von der Spanierzeit… …   Universal-Lexikon

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  • Gertrude (given name) — Infobox Given Name Revised name = Gertrude imagesize= caption= pronunciation= gender = Female meaning = derived from words meaning spear and strength region = origin = Germanic related names = Gertrud footnotes = Gertrude (also spelt Gertrud) is… …   Wikipedia

  • Atherton — /ath euhr teuhn/, n. Gertrude (Franklin) (Gertrude Franklin Horn), 1857 1948, U.S. novelist. * * * ▪ England, United Kingdom       town in the metropolitan borough of Wigan, metropolitan county of Greater Manchester, historic county of Lancashire …   Universalium

  • Atherton — /ath euhr teuhn/, n. Gertrude (Franklin) (Gertrude Franklin Horn), 1857 1948, U.S. novelist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Atherton — biographical name Gertrude Franklin 1857 1948 American novelist …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Faxon Atherton — Infobox Person name = Faxon Dean Atherton birth date = January 29 1815 [ [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003 1615(196504)21%3A4%3C421%3ATCDOFD%3E2.0.CO%3B2 C Date of birth confirmation at JSTOR] ] birth place = Dedham, Massachusetts, USA death …   Wikipedia


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