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Susan Keating Glaspell was born on July 1st, 1876 in Davenport.
Glaspell, a precocious child was an active student at Davenport High School where she took an advanced course of study. By age eighteen she was earning a regular salary at the local newspaper as a journalist, and by twenty she was the author of a weekly 'Society' column.
At twenty-one Glaspell enrolled at Drake University. A philosophy major, she also excelled in debate competitions, and represented Drake at the state tournament in her senior year.
The day after her graduation, Glaspell again worked as a reporter, still a rare position for a woman. She was assigned to cover the state legislature and murder cases.
At twenty-four, after covering the conviction of a woman accused of murdering her abusive husband, Glaspell abruptly resigned and moved back to Davenport, and with it, a hoped for career writing fiction.
Her stories were published by many periodicals, including Harper's and Munsey's.
Moving to Chicago she wrote her first novel, The Glory of the Conquered, in 1909. It was a best-seller.
As was Glaspell's second novel, The Visioning, published in 1911 and her third, Fidelity in 1915. Each novel also received glowing reviews.
With her husband Glaspell founded the Provincetown Playhouse devoted to plays that were more able to reflect contemporary American issues. Her first play, Trifles (1916), was based on the murder trial she covered as a young reporter in Des Moines. She wrote twelve groundbreaking plays over seven years for the company. By 1918 Glaspell was considered one of America's most significant new playwrights.
However, the impact and critical success of Glaspell's theatre work did not unfortunately make financial sense. Therefore she continued to submit short stories in order to support her and her husband during their years with the theater.
In 1931 she wrote the excellent play, Alison's House, for which she received the Pulitzer Prize.
In 1936 Glaspell moved to Chicago as the Midwest Bureau Director of the Federal Theater Project. When that finished she returned to Cape Cod using the Mid-West experience in her last three novels which were increasingly focused on the region, on family life, and on theistic questions; The Morning is Near Us (1939), Norma Ashe (1942), and Judd Rankin's Daughter (1945).
Susan Keating Glaspell died of viral pneumonia in Provincetown on July 28, 1948.
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