Carolyn Wells (June 18, 1862 — March 26, 1942) was an American mystery author.
Life and career
Born in Rahway, New Jersey, she was the daughter of William E. and Anna Wells.
After finishing school she worked as a librarian for the Rahway Library Association. Her first book, At the Sign of the Sphinx (1896), was a collection of literary charades. Her next publications were The Jingle Book and The Story of Betty (1899), followed by a book of verse entitled Idle Idyls (1900). After 1900, Wells wrote numerous novels and collections of poetry.
Carolyn Wells wrote a total 170 books. During the first ten years of her career, she concentrated on poetry, humor, and children's books. According to her autobiography, The Rest of My Life (1937), she heard That Affair Next Door (1897), one of Anna Katharine Green's mystery novels, being read aloud and was immediately captivated by the unraveling of the puzzle. From that point onward she devoted herself to the mystery genre. Among the most famous of her mystery novels were the Fleming Stone Detective Stories which—according to Allen J. Hubin's Crime Fiction IV: A Comprehensive Bibliography, 1749–2000 (2003)—number 61 titles. Wells's The Clue (1909) is on the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone list of essential mysteries. She was also the first to conduct a (brief, in this case) annual series devoted to the best short crime fiction of the previous year in the U.S., beginning with The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year (1931) (though others had begun a similar British series in 1929).
In addition to books, Wells also wrote for newspapers. Her poetry accompanies the work of some of the leading lights in illustration and cartooning, often in the form of Sunday magazine cover features that formed continuing narratives from week to week. Her first known illustrated newspaper work is a two part series titled Animal Alphabet, illustrated by William F. Marriner, which appeared in the Sunday comics section of the New York World. Many additional series ensued over the years, including the bizarre classic Adventures of Lovely Lilly (New York Herald, 1906–07). The last series she penned was Flossy Frills Helps Out (American Weekly, 1942), which appeared after her death.
She died at the Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in New York City in 1942.
Wells had been married to Hadwin Houghton, the heir of the Houghton-Mifflin publishing empire founded by H.O.Houghton. Wells also had an impressive collection of volumes of poetry by others. She bequeathed her collection of Walt Whitman poetry, said to be one of the most important of its kind for its completeness and rarity, to the Library of Congress.
This literature-related list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (October 2021)
Anthologies (as editor)
- ^ Reprinted in the 2019 Baker Street Almanac, pages 286-293 .
- ^ "The Patty Fairfield series". Redeeming Qualities. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- Lang, Harry; Meath-Lang, Bonnie (1995). Deaf persons in the arts and sciences : a biographical dictionary. Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313291708.
- Media related to Carolyn Wells at Wikimedia Commons
- Works related to Carolyn Wells at Wikisource
- Works by Carolyn Wells at Project Gutenberg
- Works by Carolyn Wells at Faded Page (Canada)
- Works by or about Carolyn Wells at Internet Archive
- Works by Carolyn Wells at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Discussion of Wells mystery writing
- Carolyn Wells, "Why Women Read Detective Stories", True Detective Mysteries(September 1930) pp. 18–19, 105-06
- Carolyn Wells at Library of Congress, with 186 library catalog records
- 1862 births
- 1942 deaths
- American women children's writers
- American women novelists
- American women poets
- American mystery writers
- American children's writers
- American humorous poets
- Novelists from New Jersey
- People from Rahway, New Jersey
- Women mystery writers
- 20th-century American novelists
- 20th-century American women writers
- 20th-century American poets