Among those who are striving for a permanent place among
short story writers is Edna Ferber, a young woman who makes
her stories interesting through her own keen observation of
character traits revealed in the everyday life about her. Miss
Ferber's work deserves mention among any group of Wisconsin
writers quite as much from the promise of what may still come
as from that already accomplished. Her ability to see the real
in character and the truth in real life is the strong characteristic
of her work. She has attempted to follow somewhat
closely the language of the everyday life she portrays.
Edna Ferber's short stories, many of which have appeared
in various magazines, have been collected into books published
under the titles of "Buttered Side Down," "Dawn O'Hara,"
"Roast Beef Medium," and "Personality Plus." These stories
are unified through the two characters portrayed, Dawn O'Hara
and Mrs. Emma McChesney. It is probable that much of her
own struggle and much of her aspiration for women is portrayed
in these two characters. She hopes to show that women
may make an undisputed place for themselves in the professional
and business life.
The first of these characters is a young Irish woman who
has devoted her energies to the mastering of the city newspaper
reporter's work. Through the story of Dawn O'Hara's
struggles, Edna Ferber has been able to give many interesting
comments upon the toil and thrills of this nerve-racking work.
At the same time she has been able to paint the struggle of
the young writer to produce the first book, to picture German
Milwaukee in a most interesting manner, and to make some
interesting comments upon mutual helpfulness.
Emma McChesney is an example of the extraordinarily successful
business woman. Despite the most discouraging conditions,
she works her way from the beginning of a firm's least
inviting employment to the complete management of its affairs.
All the time she is inspired by the desire to give her son the
best education and the best start in life and to assist him to the
most manly character possible. The author rewards Emma
McChesney with the full realization of her ambitions.
Edna Ferber was born in Appleton, Wisconsin. Her home
was a humble one, but was able to provide her with the opportunity
for high school education and a very little work in Lawrence
College. After graduating from high school, she did
work for the Appleton Crescent in the capacity of news collector
and reporter. Through this work she began to realize her
powers and at the same time she trained herself to that keen
observation of character which constitutes one of the greatest
pleasures in her work. Appleton's stores, hotels, newspapers,
and working life in general became her laboratory in which to
study the characteristics, defects, and aspirations of human life
as she finds it. As she has achieved greater success in her
writing she has widened her sphere of acquaintanceship and of
helpfulness. Her present home is Chicago.