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Thoma, Harry C. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 38, Number II (Nov. 1936)

Kessenich, Henrietta Wood
Alumnae aces,   pp. 52-53


Page 52


                                       Spotting a Few of the Topnotch Authors
                                       Among Our Interesting Alumnae Personalities
                                           Heinriela WaoJ Kesseimi., 'm6
                                                              Woman's Editor
                                                     ing a much more interesting
time, however, concoct-
                                   Ruby Black, '22   ing plots and solving
murders.
                                   Political writer    Esther Fonseca has
an interesting time, no matter
                                                     what she does. There
was her romance, for instance.
                                                     We won't go into details,
but we'll tell this much-
                                                     she and David Fonseca
y Mora, a young Mexican of
            5  5  7rE ARE dishing up a literary menu to-  Spanish descent,
and a recent graduate (at that time)
 \          B\ i ay three dishing  oup a f litrary mhen  t-  of the engineering
schools of Illinois and Guadalejara,
            day-three dishes out of a rather ex-    sitting side by side
in a Chicago theater  strangers to
            tensive assortment of successful writing  each other  found the
exquisite music of the opera
            careers. But we have on order news of
            other Wisconsin authors, and before     worth an exchange of
exclamations. Six months later
long, we will serve you generous helpings, a' la carte.  they were married.
                                                        The Fonsecas and
their eleven- and seven-year-old
  Do you go in for mysteries?  And do you take       sons now live in a Lookout
Mountain home near
home a black-covered book with the words "Crime      Chattanooga, where
Mr. Fonseca is engaged in TVA
Club" printed on it, knowing that you're in for a    work.aEsthe, byete
way,     is endager     pn-
grand evening trying to solve from one to six mur-   work.  Esther, by the
way, is the daughter of Spen-
ders before midnight?  If we're referring to You,    cer Haven, a former
attorney-general of Wisconsin,
then you've read Esther Haven Fonseca's Death Be-    a graduate of Wisconsin
with the class of 1895, and
then you've eand Estaere wondering F sec   Deaubled-  her mother, Olive Fulton
Haven, also was a member
low the Damn and are wondering when Doubleday-       of the class of 1 89
5.
Doran will publish the promised Thirteenth Bed in
the Ballroom.                                                         a 
     a
  Didn't she have a thrilling description of a storm    RU
and flood in that first book of hers!  Perhaps you
didn't realize it, but she was describing a week of  a newspaper woman, she
probably turns out more
Wisconsin downpours and the breaking of the Hud-     wordage per day than
the average novelist does in a
son dam in the St. Croix river. It is only a few     week. No novels for
Ruby Black    so far-though
years ago that she saw those bridges go out, so her  she must have enough
anecdotes and characters
memory of the storm is very vivid. For a person      and "situations"
stored away to fill several books.
with her imagination, it was not hard to visualize      She left Wisconsin
in 1923 after two years of
what would happen to a group of people, isolated on  graduate work, and teaching
in the school of jour-
an island, if a murder (or two or three) occurred    nalism, a summer of
writing for the Wisconsin State
in their midst.                                      Journal, and marriage
to Herbert Little, who at that
                                                     time was manager of
the United Press Bureau in
  THE amazing thing about this book of Mrs.          Madison. Together they
went to work for the St.
Fonseca's is that it is the first book she ever wrote,  Louis Times, and
she had the job of general reporter
and that it was accepted by the first pub-                      and labor
editor. Along with their press
lisher to whom she sent it. And she not                         work, they
began contributing to the
only received an acceptance, but the pub-                       more interesting
magazines.
fishers asked her for everything else she                         A year
later they were in Washington
might have in the way of mystery stories                        and they
have been there ever since. Ruby
-a rather startling request, considering                        Black immediately
went to work for
she had scarcely read a mystery story un-                       Equal Rights,
official weekly publication
til a year or so ago. Her answer was that         -             of the National
Woman's Party, an or-
she had "nothing on hand at present,"-                        
 ganization into which her basic feminism
whereupon she proceeded promptly to             "               led
her as by instinct; but she was a year
produce.                                                        in finding
a regular full-time newspaper
  Her writing career began at the age of                        job. For
three years she worked in the
eight when she edited the Fires!fde Coin-                       largest Washington
bureau serving num-
panion.  She majored in journalism at                           erous newspapers
with local angle-news
Wisconsin, and after graduation in 1922,                        out of the
capital.
she went in for the arty, literary style of                       She had
the nerve to start a bureau of
short-story writing and indulged   oc- Honore Willsie Morrow, '02  her own,
burning her bridges behind her,
casionally in a bit of poetry. She is hav-  Oil "must" lists  
 giving up a steady salary.   She was
                                                  52


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