Gladys Hasty Carroll
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Gladys Hasty Carroll (June 26, 1904 - April 1, 1999) was an American novelist who was a published author from the late 1920s into the 1980s. In her fiction and non-fiction, Carroll wrote about what she knew and people that she loved: specifically, the Southern Maine rural community known as Dunnybrook in South Berwick, Maine. Carroll believed that the history that mattered most was the history of common folk and her literature presented their stories and stories of those like them.
Carroll was born June 26, 1904, in Rochester, New Hampshire, and was raised in South Berwick, Maine. She grew up on the family farm of her parents Warren Verd Hasty and Emma Frances Dow, living with her brother Harold, her grandfather George Bradford Hasty and paternal aunt Vinnie.
As a child she was taught in a one room school house. To keep her occupied, her teachers told her to write on any topic she wished once she finished her school work. She attended and graduated from Berwick Academy and then attended Bates College, being the first person in her family to pursue higher education. Her Bates friends nicknamed her "Sunny" because of her optimistic personality. She graduated in 1925, and was married the next day in the Bates College chapel to Herbert Allen Carroll. Their marriage lasted 58 years, until Dr Carroll's death in April 1983. Herbert's career and pursuits of various degrees took the couple all over America including Massachusetts, Chicago, Minneapolis and Manhattan.
This period marked Carroll's emergence into international prominence as an author. She worked almost tireless, writing short stories, regular advice columns and her novels Cockatoo (1929) and Landspell (1930). In 1932 she gave birth to her first son, Warren Carroll. In 1933, she wrote her Pulitzer Prize nominated work of fiction, As the Earth Turns. As the Earth Turns, was a blockbuster success and the number two selling novel of 1933 according to Publishers Weekly, second only to Hervey Allen's Anthony Adverse and outselling such well-remembered books as Lloyd C. Douglas's Magnificent Obsession and Sinclair Lewis's Ann Vickers. A Warner Bros. film version of the novel starring Jean Muir and Donald Woods was a flop, however, and none of Carroll's other novels were ever filmed. The only other film adaption of any of her work was her story "Kristi" which was made into an episode of Jane Wyman's 1950s anthology television series Fireside Theatre.
The money from the book, along with her husband's job at the University of New Hampshire, allowed her to return to her hometown and build a home on the land of her family in South Berwick. She continued to publish novels, but also worked to write the folkplay adaptation of As the Earth Turns. She helped produce the play each summer, using her neighbors in the Dunnybrook community and performing in an open field. In 1941 she had her second and last child, a daughter they named Sarah. Towards the end of this interval, she wrote what some consider to be her greatest work, Dunnybrook, published in 1943.
World War II brought the end of the folkplay, with the last performance being in 1942. After the war Carroll continued to write, publishing a book every two years in the 1940s and 1950s and seven books in the 1960s. She was elected onto the Board of Trustees of Bates College and traveled extensively for their Alumni Association. She eventually moved into the Hasty farmhouse and lived a simple life there. In the 1970s she published the novels Next of Kin and Unless you Die Young and the autobiographical Years Away from Home.
In 1985, Carroll inspired the creation of the Dunnybrook Historical Foundation Inc, and was a founding trustee. During the summer she allowed visitors to come to her Maine home to visit, go on guided tours of Dunnybrook, and get books signed. Family and community members also displayed art, made music and performed historical skits. In the mid-1990s the Old Berwick Historical Society helped produce a professional audio recording of her book Dunnybrook. As Carroll was in her nineties at this point, it took supreme efforts on her part and could be considered the culminating event of a long career.
Gladys Hasty Carroll died peacefully at age 94 on April 1, 1999, in a hospital in York, Maine.
The Dunnybrook Historical Foundation still exists today as a registered non-profit group. The foundation is dedicated to preserving and sharing an extensive collection of material related to the history of Dunnybrook as well as the life and works of Gladys Hasty Carroll. This collection includes many photographs, diaries, letters and official records of those families who lived in Dunnybrook. The foundation is made up entirely of direct descendants of Carroll, down to her living great-grandchildren. It continues to work today to preserve the stories of the people that Gladys Hasty Carroll thought most important.
- Cockatoo, 1929 (children's book)
- Land Spell, 1930 (children's book)
- As the Earth Turns, 1933
- A Few Foolish Ones, 1935
- Neighbor to the Sky, 1937
- Head of the Line 1942
- Dunnybrook, 1943
- While the Angels Sing, 1947
- West of the Hill, 1949
- Christmas Without Johnny, 1950
- One White Star, 1954
- Sing Out the Glory, 1957
- Come with Me Home, 1960
- Only Fifty Years Ago 1962
- To Remember Forever, 1963
- The Road Grows Strange, 1965
- The Light Here Kindled, 1967
- Christmas Through the Years, 1968
- Man on the Mountain, 1969
- Years Away from Home, 1972
- Next of Kin, 1974
- Unless You Die Young, 1977
- The Book That Came Alive, 1979
- The Wings of Berwick Academy 1992
- Gladys Hasty Carroll profile at age 91
- http://dunnybrook.org/ Homepage for the Dunnybrook Historical Foundation
- http://dunnybrook.org/homepage/Gladys_Hasty_Carroll.html Profile Page of Gladys Hasty Carroll
- http://dunnybrook.org/homepage/about_us.html History of Dunnybrook