Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ruth McKenney

Saw Harvey Pekar at the library this morning, he was perusing the for-sale racks. Went over, said "hi," he had that look again which either means, "who are you?" or "are you going to bother me?" I asked if he knew anything about labor unrest in the 30s and he said that's really not his area.

But then he told me about Ruth McKenney, who is probably best-known today for her book My Sister Eileen, which was adapted into the musical Wonderful Town. What fewer people know today is that she was a reporter for the Akron Beacon-Journal and wrote the book Industrial Valley about the Akron rubber strike of 32-36.
In 1939 Industrial Valley came out to an outcry from Akron community leaders. Akron evangelist Bill Denton urged the Chamber of Commerce to file suit in the federal court, saying the book was full of "profanity, slander and communistic tendencies." That same year, the book won an honorable mention in the non-fiction category at the American Writer's Congress. - Akron Women's History
I imagine the book did have communistic tendencies, as she was a Communist.

LATER: "Industrial Valley" is sitting on one of our bookshelves. Just sitting there. I love this house.


  1. You seriously saw Harvey Pekar at the library? Like, this has happened before???

  2. Like, yeah. This is Cleveland Heights, yo.