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Alice French (March 19, 1850 – January 9, 1934)

Alice French, better known as Octave Thanet, was an American novelist and short fiction writer.
Born: March 19, 1850, Andover, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 9, 1934, Davenport, Iowa, United States
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Lived: Alice French House, Alicia, AR 72410, USA (35.98204, -91.09424)
Alice French House, 321 E 10th St, Davenport, IA 52803, USA (41.5296, -90.57014)
Buried: Oakdale Memorial Gardens, Davenport, Scott County, Iowa, USA, Plot: Section 13, Lot 40 East 1/2
Buried alongside: Jane Allen Crawford

The Alice French House, also known as Thanford, was an historic house located near Clover Bend, Arkansas.
Address: Alicia, AR 72410, USA (35.98204, -91.09424)
Type: Historic Street (open to public)
National Register of Historic Places: Clover Bend Historic District (Jct. of AR 228 and Co. Rd. 1220), 90001368, 1990
Place
Alice French and Jane Crawford originally lived in a cabin on the plantation. It was destroyed in a fire in 1895 and they built Thanford in 1896 along the Black River. It was a three-story, fifteen room house, and its name is a combination of Alice French’s (Thanet, from her pen name) and June Allen Crawford’s last names. The estate was landscaped with shrubs imported from England. The stables housed fine horses and an elegant carriage. The house was the setting for their literary and social activities. French’s study was on the top floor of the house, where she had a commanding view of the river. They entertained many well known people, including Theodore Roosevelt, with fine dining and wines. French also created a woodworking shop, where she built shelves and simple furniture, and a darkroom, where she developed and printed her own photographs. The house was on the banks of Black River. It must have been a very grand sort of a house, especially for Clover Bend in the 1890s. It stood on a curve of the river, towering above clumps of cedar and oak that softened the conventionality of its architectural design and contrasted pleasantly with its white columns and walls. When the U.S. Government purchased the Clover Bend land, it began the task of rebuilding "Thanford," which, by 1937 had not only fallen into deterioration, but stood dangerously close to the encroaching Black River. The building was moved several hundred feet to a safer location, strengthened and thoroughly renovated. The structure was used as late as 1941 for a community recreation room. A framed photograph of Miss French hung above the fireplace.
Life
Who: Alice French (March 19, 1850 – January 9, 1934), aka Octave Thanet, and Jane Crawford (1851-1932)
Born in Andover, Massachusetts, Alice French was five when her family moved to Davenport, Iowa in 1855. She became the first writer from Iowa with a national reputation. Her first short story appeared in a local newspaper in 1871 and by the 1880s she was being published in The Atlantic and Harper’s. She wrote under the pen name Octave Thanet and her stories became popular in the 1890s and early 1900s. French, along with her widowed friend Jane Allen Crawford, spent their winters at Clover Bend Plantation in Lawrence County, Arkansas from 1883-1909. French expanded on the regionalist themes she started in Iowa with stories about the people in the Clover Bend area. She used the poor black and white sharecroppers as the subjects for her stories. As literary tastes changed French’s work fell out of favor. She abandoned writing and took up social work. She died in Davenport in 1934.



Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532901904
ISBN-10: 1532901909
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228297
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532901909/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ1BU9K/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

The Alice French House, is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River on the east side of Davenport, Iowa.
Address: 321 E 10th St, Davenport, IA 52803, USA (41.5296, -90.57014)
Type: Private Property
National Register of Historic Places: 83002434, 1983
Place
Built in 1906
George French moved to Davenport from Andover, Massachusetts in 1855 and he served the city as mayor, banker, school board member and trustee of the local Unitarian society. His daughter Alice, who was five when the family moved to the Midwest, became the first writer from Iowa with a national reputation. Her first short story appeared in a local newspaper in 1871 and by the 1880s she was being published in The Atlantic and Harper’s. She wrote under the pen name Octave Thanet and her stories became popular in the 1890s and early 1900s. French was part of an informal literary circle known as the Davenport Writer’s Group. Other members included George Cram Cook, Susan Glaspell, Arthur Davison Ficke, Floyd Dell and Harry Hansen. While most of them had careers away from Davenport, their shared experiences in the city affected their writings. Alice French’s work was especially affected by Davenport and life on the Mississippi. She often wrote about life in a western town named Fairport, which was a fictionalized Davenport. She blended realistic details of daily life in the city with romantic ideals. “The Man of the Hour” (1905), set in Fairport, was her most popular novel. As literary tastes changed French’s work fell out of favor. She abandoned writing and took up social work. She would spend the spring, summer and autumn in Davenport and the winter in Arkansas. The Alice French House is a Queen Anne-Colonial Revival combination structure, a style that was popular in Davenport at the turn of the XX century. It sits on a corner lot that sits diagonally from Sacred Heart Cathedral. It is a large two-story building of wood construction. The home was originally a single-family dwelling that has been divided into a multiple-family dwelling.
Life
Who: Alice French (March 19, 1850 – January 9, 1934), aka Octave Thanet, and Jane Crawford (1851-1932)
By 1890, Alice French settled in her comfortable life-long lesbian partnership with a widowed friend, Jane Allen Crawford, dividing their year between their home in Davenport, Iowa, and their plantation in Arkansas. The two women shared their lives, except for Jane’s four-year marriage and then her European tour. In 1909, French and Crawford gave up their Thanford house, after which French traveled widely in the United States, speaking for the conservative causes she embraced, adding to them her opposition to woman suffrage. Her point of view remained fixed in the era of her youth. She developed diabetes, and complications from the disease caused the loss of one leg and most of her eyesight. She died on January 9, 1934, in Davenport. She is buried at Oakdale Memorial Gardens (2501 Eastern Ave, Davenport, IA 52803), alongside with Jane Crawford.



Queer Places, Vol. 1 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532901904
ISBN-10: 1532901909
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228297
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532901909/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ1BU9K/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

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