Gene Stratton-Porter was named one of the “Ten Greatest Living Indianans” in 1922 by a survey done by the “Indianapolis News.” The newspaper received 802 lists submitted by its readers. Of the top ten, Gene was the only woman. Five of ten were authors. Indiana was second only to the state of New York in the number of best selling authors. The early 20th century was known as the “Golden age of Literature” in Indiana.
The list contains some of the greatest Hoosiers of the 20th Century not just 1922. The other
authors were Booth Tarkington, George Ade, Kin Hubbard and Meredith Nicholson.
Booth Tarkington made the number one spot. Booth was a native of Indianapolis and was a
prolific writer. Gene made the comment to Nelson Doubleday that she knew how hard Booth
worked on his books. He was a Pulitzer Prize for “The Magnificent Ambersons” and “Alice
The other distinguished writers included George Ade who wrote the column for the “Chicago
Morning News” called “Stories of the Streets and of the Town.” He was known and loved as a
humorist. Consistently wrote about the “little man” or the common average man. Meredith
Nicholson wrote poetry and prose and was a loved Hoosier writer. In his long career, he served as a diplomat, governor and attorney. Kin Hubbard was the pen name of Frank McKinney Hubbard. He created the cartoon “Abe Martin of Brown County.” He was a playwright and screen writer.
Rounding out the list were: Thomas Marshall, governor of Indiana and vice president of the
United States under President Woodrow Wilson: Elwood Haynes, a Kokomo inventor who
created one of the earliest cars in the United States; Albert J Beveridge, historian and senator;
Judge A.B. Anderson who was appointed the district judge in Southern Indiana and the Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago; and Dr. John Hurty who set up one of the first laboratories in Indiana and later worked for Col. Eli Lily.
In Nelson Price’s book “Indiana Legends,” six of the above are named: Gene Stratton-Porter,
Booth Tarkington, Thomas Marshall, George Ade, Meredith Nicholson and Kin Hubbard. All ofthe five authors were considered “Legends” which gives a nod to the status of our literary
By 1922, Gene’s primary home was in California. She had just published her first novel, “Her
Father’s Daughter,” set in that state. She was a national voice for conservation and active in the newly formed Izaak Walton League. She had formed her own company to produce her own motion picture from her books. If her life had not been cut short in 1924, one wonders what else she would have accomplished.