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Alberta Pierson Hannum


Writer Alberta Pierson Hannum (August 3, 1906-February 18, 1985) was born in Condit, Ohio, and spent the greater part of her life in the Wheeling area. A graduate of Ohio State University (B.A., 1927) with graduate study at Columbia University in 1928, Hannum was the wife of Robert Fulton Hannum, the president of Fostoria Glass Company. Her works showed an early interest in life in the Appalachians, beginning with her first novel Thursday April (1931) and continuing through Roseanna McCoy (1947) and the memoir, Look Back with Love: A Recollection of the Blue Ridge (1969).

Hannum’s other novels include The Hills Step Lightly (1934), The Gods and One (1941), The Mountain People (1943), and two books set outside the mountains, Spin a Silver Dollar: The Story of a Desert Trading Post (1945) and a novel about Navajos, Paint the Wind (1958). Roseanna McCoy, about the Hatfield-McCoy feud, was released by RKO General as a motion picture in 1949. Spin a Silver Dollar was released as a radio play in 1946 and published as The Blue House by the U.S. Information Agency in 1970.

Hannum was also successful as a public lecturer, recognized in 1938 by the New York Times as one of the top women speakers in the country. Known the world over through translation of her works into Italian, Korean, Laotian, Russian, and Yugoslavian, Alberta Pierson Hannum died in Arlington, Virginia.

Written by Debra K. Sullivan


  1. Ambler, Charles H. & Festus P. Summers. West Virginia: The Mountain State. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1958.

  2. Bowden, Jane A., ed. Contemporary Authors. Detroit: Gale Research, 1977.