Nathalia Crane

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Nathalia Clara Ruth Crane
Nathalia Clara Ruth Crane.jpeg
Crane in a publicity photo c. 1925[1]
Born (1913-08-11)August 11, 1913
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
Died October 22, 1998(1998-10-22) (aged 85)
Occupation Author, professor
Language English
Nationality American
Genre Fantasy, poetry
Spouse Vete George Black
Peter O'Reilly

Nathalia Clara Ruth Crane (11 August 1913 – 22 October 1998) was a poet and novelist who became famous as a child prodigy after the publication of her first book of poetry, The Janitor's Boy, written at age 10 and published two years later. Her poetry was first published in The New York Sun when she was only 9 years old, the paper unaware that she was a child. She was elected into the British Society of Authors, Playwrights, and Composers in 1925[2] and later became a professor of English at San Diego State University.[3]

After the publication of her second volume of poetry, Lava Lane, poet Edwin Markham implied that the publications were probably a hoax, stating "It seems impossible to me that a girl so immature could have written these poems. They are beyond the powers of a girl of twelve. The sophisticated viewpoint of sex, ...knowledge of history and archeology found in these pages place them beyond the reach of any juvenile mind."[citation needed]

Crane was dubbed "The Brooklyn Bard" by the time she was 13 and became part of the Louis Untermeyer poetry circle during her late teens, with Untermeyer contributing an introduction to her 1936 volume Swear by the Night & Other Poems.[3] He was an early promoter of her work, stating, "some of the critics explained the work by insisting that the child was some sort of medium, an instrument unaware of what was played upon it; others, considering the book a hoax, scorned the fact that any child could have written verses so smooth in execution and so remarkable in spiritual overtones" and that "the appeal of such lines is not that they have been written by a child but by a poet."[citation needed]

She is supposedly related to Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage, and the "well-known publicist," Dr. Frank Crane.[2]


Photograph from The Janitor's Boy: And Other Poems (1924)




  • 1925, with Frances E. Friedman, Nathalia Crane Song Book. New York: Thomas Seltzer. OCLC 4380011
  • 1926, Nathalia Crane. New York: Simon & Schuster.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Nathalia Clara Ruth Crane (1913-1998)". Smithsonian Institution Archives. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Nathalia Crane child poet 1925". Life in the 1920s. Retrieved 10 July 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Salmonson, Jessica Amanda. "Girl writers: Nathalia Crane, Vivienne Dayrell, & Daisy Ashford". The Weird Review. Violet Books. Retrieved 10 July 2013.