Edith Summers Kelley

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Edith Summers Kelley (April 28, 1884 – June 9, 1956) was a Canadian-born author who lived and worked in the United States, and is best known for her 1923 novel Weeds (1923), set in the hills of Kentucky.[1]

Kelley was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Scottish immigrants[1] and graduated from the University of Toronto before moving to Greenwich Village where she met Upton Sinclair, who offered her a job at Helicon Home Colony. At the colony she met Sinclair Lewis and they were engaged for two years, but she married his roommate, a poet and novelist named Allan Updegraff. She taught night school to support him and their two children. They divorced, and she took up with an artist, Fred Kelley, with whom she moved around the country and had another child.[2] Weeds was conceived while she and Kelley lived on a tobacco farm in Scott County, Kentucky.[1] It had some positive reviews but no commercial success; a second novel, The Devil's Hand, written while she and Kelley lived in Imperial Valley, California, was left unfinished, and wasn't printed until 1974.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Ballard, Sandra (2003). Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. Lexington, KY: UP of Kentucky. pp. 319–20. ISBN 978-0-8131-9066-2. 
  2. ^ a b Showalter, Elaine (2009). A jury of her peers: American women writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx. Random House. pp. 370–71. ISBN 978-1-4000-4123-7.