Helen Hooven Santmyer
The Ohio Connection
- Helen Hooven Santmyer was born in Cincinnati and raised in its neighboring town of Xenia, Ohio.
- Santmyer’s beloved Xenia is ubiquitous in her prose, much of it praising the subtle charms of the southwestern Ohio town. In fact, the novel that made her famous, …And Ladies of the Club, is named after a formidable organization founded more than a hundred years ago: The Xenia Woman’s Club.
- Although it depicts the fictional Ohio town of Waynesboro (based on Xenia), …And Ladies of the Club weaves the lives of its characters into the real history of Ohio and the nation.
- From 1935 to 1953, Helen held positions unusually high-ranking for a woman in those days. At Cedarville College in Cedarville, Ohio, Santmyer served as Dean of Women and head of the English Department.
- Santmyer left academia to accept a job as reference librarian in Dayton, Ohio. There she met her lifelong companion, Mildred Sandoe.
- Santmyer’s personal memoir, Ohio Town, was published in 1962. Her early experiences in Xenia form the basis for this collection of essays.
- The Ohio State University Press published both Our Town (1962) and later released …And Ladies of the Club in 1982.