Malden's Literary Giants
Malden has a rich literary history.
Did you know that the New York Times published its first Best-Seller list on August 9, 1942 and that the first ever non-fiction best-seller was Malden author Elliot Paul's The Last Time I Saw Paris, reminiscences of the 18 years he lived in pre-war Paris?
As we formulate plans to celebrate a city coming together with reading, music, drama, and other programs, let us also reflect on Malden's literary history as represented in the writing of many Malden authors.
Elliot Paul was born in the Linden section in 1891, attended Malden schools and graduated from Malden High School. His first of many novels was published in 1921 and he continued to write until his death in 1958.
Erle Stanley Gardner, born in Malden in 1889, was the author of 80 Perry Mason tales and more than 140 other books and was the best-selling American author of the 20th century. Many more readers became familiar with his Perry Mason character after the popular (1957-1966) television series.
Kenneth Roberts, author of many popular historical novels, made the best-seller list 8 times. His best known novel was "Northwest Passage," which became his first best-seller in 1937 and a movie in 1940.
Henry Morton Robinson's best-known novel, "The Cardinal," was made into a movie in 1963. Robinson expressed gratitude to his Malden upbringing, his church and especially to two Malden teachers, Ruth Child and Thornton Jenkins, who encouraged him in his writing. Many Malden locales are recognizable in "The Cardinal."
Malden's literary talent continues with several currently published authors whom space does not permit coverage in this article but we can continue the tradition. Why not add "Malden Writes" to "Malden Reads" as part of the upcoming celebrations?
Dina G. Malgeri is the Executive Director of the Malden Public Library.