volume two, number 3

Dedication: The Ruth Moore Centennial

Ruth Moore (1903-1989) has long been considered the first voice of the “real Maine”—her novel, The Weir, preceding The Beans of Egypt Maine by almost fifty years. The New York Times Review of Books heralded her as “New England’s only answer to Faulkner.” Ruth described herself as, simply, “the eyes that watch from the underbrush.”

Ruth was born in 1903 on Gott’s Island, two miles off the Maine coast. The oldest of four children, she was descended from the island’s original 18th century settlers. Her parents ran the island’s post office, store and boarding house. Ruth graduated from New York State College for Teachers at Albany in 1925 and worked at various jobs in New York City, Washington, D.C. and California, including time at the Reader’s Digest and the NAACP.

While at the NAACP, she worked directly for both Mary White Ovington, one of the organization’s founders, and poet James Weldon Johnson, the association’s head and author of God’s Trombones. Ruth’s time with the NAACP included working as a special investigator in two murder cases. During the course of 1930, these investigations necessitated frequent trips through the south and ultimately resulted in the freeing of two falsely accused young African American boys.

In 1946 she returned to Bass Harbor with her lifelong companion, Eleanor Mayo, and lived there the rest of her life. Between 1943 until her death in 1989, she published 14 novels, 2 books of poetry and a collection of ballads. Her novels were translated into Dutch, Norwegian, German, Italian and Japanese. Her shorter fiction and poetry were published in The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar and numerous smaller publications. Ruth’s second book Spoonhandle was made into the Oscar nominated, 20th Century Fox film, “Deep Waters” (Henry King 1948). Currently Maine publisher Gary Lawless is republishing her books under the Blackberry Press imprint.