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Author Fanny Kemble Johnson (May 22, 1868-February 15, 1950) was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and began her writing career shortly after moving to West Virginia in 1897. Johnson married Vincent Costello two years later. They moved from Charleston to Wheeling in 1907, and back to Charleston in 1917. Her only published novel, The Beloved Son (1916), is set in the Natural Bridge area of Virginia, where she was raised.

Johnson’s work can be found in such diverse places as Ella May Turner’s 1923 compilation, Stories and Verse of West Virginia, and in Weird Tales, the pulp magazine in which her story, ‘‘The Dinner Set,’’ was published in 1935. Her short stories appeared in some of the early 20th century’s leading literary magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and Century. Her story ‘‘The Strange Looking Man’’ was included in a best short stories collection of 1917, and her ‘‘They Both Needed It’’ was among the best short stories of 1918. In 2000, ‘‘The Strange Looking Man’’ was included in the Oxford University Press anthology Women’s Writing on the First World War. Johnson died in Charleston.

This Article was written by Christine M. Kreiser

Last Revised on June 14, 2017

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Frazier, Kitty B. West Virginia Women Writers, 1822-1979. Charleston: Kitty Frazier, 1979.

"West Virginia Women and the Arts," Pamphlet. West Virginia University Public History Program & West Virginia University Center for Women's Studies, 1990.

Cite This Article

Kreiser, Christine M. "Fanny Kemble Johnson." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 14 June 2017. Web. 17 July 2024.


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