Fanny Kemble Johnson

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Fanny Kemble Johnson
BornMay 22, 1868
DiedFebruary 15, 1950
ResidenceCharleston, West Virginia
Other namesFanny Costello
Occupationwriter, poet
Known forThe Strange-Looking Man

Fanny Kemble Johnson (May 22, 1868 - February 15, 1950) was an author, poet and essayist from West Virginia.[1][2] She wrote one novel, The Beloved Son, in 1916. Her short stories and poetry appeared in literary magazines such as Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and Century but also in places such as Weird Tales.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Her story The Strange-Looking Man was first included in The Pagan and then selected for Best American Short Stories by E. J. O'Brien in 1917.[9][10] Her story They Both Needed It was chosen as one of the best short stories of 1918. Johnson was selected as the poet laureate of the Conservative Party of Amateurdom by the National Amateur Press Association in 1889 calling her "the greatest poet in Amateur Journalism".[11]

The Strange Looking Man was included in an Oxford University Press anthology Women’s Writing on the First World War.[12] The story is considered to be first short story about World War One to be selected for the Best American Short Stories collection.[13] The story is a fable about a child who considers a non-disfigured man "strange" because all the child has ever known was maimed and injured individuals.

Personal life[edit]

Johnson was married to Vincent Costello. She and her husband moved from Charleston to Wheeling in 1907, and back to Charleston in 1917.[2] They had four children.[9]


  1. ^ Powell, Bob (2018-02-15). "February 15, 1950: Author Fannie Kemble Johnson Dies". West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  2. ^ a b Kreiser, Christine (1950-02-15). "Fanny Kemble Johnson". e-West Virginia. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  3. ^ "Weird Tales - 1935". Yankee Classic Pictures. 1935-01-30. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  4. ^ "Idyl of Uncle Paley". Harper's Monthly Magazine, March 1917. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  5. ^ "On the Moor's Key (poem)". Harper's Monthly Magazine July 1904. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  6. ^ "The Happy Thought (poem)". Harper's Monthly Magazine October 1904. 2016-10-23. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  7. ^ "Aftermath (poem)". Harper's Monthly Magazine November 1904. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  8. ^ "They Both Needed It". The Century (via Internet Archive). 1916. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  9. ^ a b Cardinal, Agnes (1999). Women's writing on the First World War. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. p. 230-231. ISBN 0-19-812280-2. OCLC 41176601.
  10. ^ "The Strange-Looking Man". The Best short stories of 1917 : and The Yearbook of the American short story. 1917. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  11. ^ Nixon, John Travis (1900). A history of the National Amateur Press Association. Crowley Louisiana: John T. Nixon. p. 210. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Women's Writing on the First World War". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  13. ^ Wolfe, Cynthia (2016-08-14). "Anthology: Utopians". Arts and Music - Indiana Public Media. Retrieved 2019-01-16.