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Authority record
Author

Elizabeth Sale

  • 3.5.6
  • Person
  • 1886-1981

Elizabeth Sale (1886-1981) was a poet, novelist, and literary editor who spent her formative years in Tacoma, Washington. She was born Bettie Sale Clemmons June 26,1886, in Monroe County, Indiana. When she was three years old, her extended family moved to Tacoma, Washington, where her father and uncle worked as letter carriers. She married James Murdoch Stewart (1885-1956) in 1908 and they adopted a son, Harry Edward Skarbo (1908-1956) sometime after the death of his birth mother in 1911. Their second son, James Murdock Stewart, Jr., (1914-1999) was born November 24, 1914.

She was a charter member and the third president of the Tacoma Writers’ club, which was inaugurated in 1919. Her poetry was published in Washington State journals The Tacoman and Muse & Mirror, as well as syndicated in newspapers in the United States and Canada. She performed on KOMO radio in the late 1920s as “Aunt Missouri Jackson”, a Black “mammy” character in skits that she wrote every week. Her son Harry was to have his own fame in radio, nightclubs, and movies performing in Swedish dialect as “Yogi Yorgesson”, the Hindu mystic. By 1930, she was divorced and living in New York City. On April 14, 1931, she married Christoffer Fotland (1891-1972), a Norwegian sea captain, and had relocated to the Los Angeles area in California. She continued to be active in poetry circles in California and joined the San Pedro Writers’ Guild in 1936, of which she was later president.

She had begun writing her first novel as early as 1934, when she lived in Tacoma for two months while doing research. This year she began her collaboration with Virna Haffer (1899-1974) on a volume of erotic poetry and photographs, called Abundant Wild Oats. It was to be published by The Writer's Press in New York City in 1938, although it was never produced. A mock-up of the cover survives, along with a promotional brochure, a few poems, and a handful of Virna Haffer’s photographs. Her novel, Recitation From Memory (1943), was set in Tacoma and based on her early childhood experience. Her reminiscence continued through her second novel, My Mother Bids Me Bind My Hair (1944), which followed her life up to her first marriage. For ten years (c. 1938-1948) she worked as poetry editor of Rob Wagner’s Script, a weekly literary and film magazine published in Beverly Hills. Two volumes of her poetry were published, The Field (1968), and Where Lies the Land (1974). She lived the last two years of her life with her son James in Grand Junction, Colorado, where she died February 5, 1981.

Murray Morgan

  • 6.1.1
  • Person
  • 1916-2000

Murray Morgan was born in Tacoma in 1916 to Henry Victor and Ada Camille Morgan. His father, a Unitarian Universalist Minister, was the publisher of a monthly religious periodical while his mother wrote children's plays and poetry. As a student, he wrote for both his junior high and high school newspapers. Before his 1933 graduation from Stadium High School, Morgan's article "How to Second a Boxer," was published nationally in Scholastic Magazine. He enrolled at the University of Washington where he studied journalism and edited the UW Daily. He graduated cum laude in 1937 and then moved to Hoquiam to report on sports and local news for the Grays Harbor Washingtonian. He briefly returned to Seattle to edit the Seattle Municipal News. While there, he reunited with Rosa Northcutt, who had also attended UW and worked on the UW Daily. On March 5, 1939, Murray and Rosa were married in Tacoma. The couple went to Europe for their honeymoon where they embarked on a kayaking trip through Germany and Austria. Murray's reports on the trip were published in the Tacoma News Tribune. He then wrote for the Spokane Daily Chronicle before returning to the Grays Harbor Washingtonian as the City Editor. In 1941, he moved to New York City to pursue a Master's degree in journalism at Columbia University. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, media outlets expanded their operations and Murray began working on assignments for CBS, Time, and the New York Herald Tribune. Rosa attended his classes and took notes for him while he wrote. With her help, he completed the Master's program and was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship. He and Rosa moved to Lake Patzcuaro, Mexico where Murray intended to study and write about the Mexican press. Just a few months after their arrival in Mexico, Murray was drafted into the army. His first book, a mystery called Day of the Dead, was published under the pen name Cromwell Murray in 1946. While stationed in the Aleutian Islands, Rosa encouraged Murray to write about the history of the island. She conducted research and sent the information to Murray. This resulted in his first history book, Bridge to Russia: Those Amazing Aleutians (1947). Murray was then transferred to the Pentagon to work as decoder. While in Washington, DC, he worked with Rosa to research the CSS Shenandoah which resulted in the book Dixie Raider (1948). The Morgans returned to Washington and lived on Maury Island where Murray wrote a second novel, The Viewless Winds. They then moved to Trout Lake where Murray would live for the rest of his life. He wrote for dozens of magazines and newspapers including Holiday, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, The Nation, and the Saturday Evening Post. He also worked as the copyeditor for the Tacoma Times and taught courses and advised the student newspaper at the University of Puget Sound. He briefly worked the graveyard shift as the bridgetender for the 11th Street Bridge which would later be renamed in his honor. In 1951, Murray's most successful book, Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle was published. In the early 1950s, Morgan added the role of broadcaster to his growing list of occupations. He and Jim Faber co-hosted a morning news program on KMO and then KTAC where they discussed Tacoma politics and became known for exposing and discussing corruption. In 1956, Morgan joined KTNT to host a morning program called "Our Town, Our World," which would continue for 15 years. In 1963, he started a regular review column for the Seattle periodical Argus. Between 1969 and 1981, he taught a course on Northwest history at Tacoma Community College. During this period, he also taught at Highline Community College, Pacific Lutheran University, and Fort Steilacoom Community College. Over the course of his career, he wrote or co-wrote 23 books. He died on June 22, 2000.

Thomas Handforth

  • 3.5.3
  • Person
  • 9/15/1897-10/19/1948

A native of Tacoma, Thomas Handforth won international acclaim as an artist, author, and illustrator. Born in Tacoma on September 19, 1897, Handforth attended Stadium High School (then Tacoma High School). There he created the art for the high school annuals. Post-graduation he attended the University of Washington then moved to New York for art training. During his service in World War I he drew anatomical drawings in Washington, D.C. After the war, he returned to New York and studied under Kenneth Hayes Miller and later with Mahonri Young. Later he trained in draughtsmanship and painting at Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He won numerous prizes and became a member of various societies of etchers.
In 1927 he visited Morocco and in 1929 relocated to Mexico. Two years later traveled to China where he stayed until 1937. It was in China where he developed his skills with lithography. From China, he went to Southeast Asia (then Indo-China) and returned to the United States at the approach of World War II. He returned to service in the Army and after his release returned to Tacoma in 1944 and again in 1945 to make portraits of his many former hometown friends. Handforth is best known for his children's book "Mai Li", published in 1938, for which he won the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1939. The other books he illustrated include Sidonie, Totou in Bondage, and Tranquilinas Paradise. Handforth died at McCornak General Hospital in Pasadena. His death was attributed to acute coronary thrombosis.