- Caldwell, Erskine
- (1903-1987)Born in White Oak, Georgia, best-selling writer Erskine Caldwell attended Erskine College and the University of Virginia for a number of years and worked as a journalist before moving to Maine in 1926 to concentrate on writing fiction. His first novel, The Bastard, appeared in 1929, and his collection of short stories, American Earth, in 1931. However, it was with his portrayal of the life and loves of southern sharecroppers in Tobacco Road (1932) and then God’s Little Acre (1933) that he achieved critical acclaim and some notoriety. God’s Little Acre was the subject of an obscenity trial, which Caldwell won. Both books were huge best sellers, and both were made into films, Tobacco Road in 1941 and God’s Little Acre in 1958.Caldwell went to Hollywood as a screenwriter in 1933, but he continued as a prolific author. Kneel to the Rising Sun appeared in 1935, as did his documentary work Some American People. He produced a number of photographic essays with Margaret Bourke-White (to whom he was briefly married), including You Have Seen Their Faces (1937) and Russia at War (1942). Another collection of short stories, Georgia Boy, appeared in 1943. Caldwell’s novels about poor southern life continued, although less successfully, with A House in the Uplands (1946), The Very Earth (1948), and Place Called Estherville (1949). Caldwell wrote several novels in the 1950s and turned to racial issues in the 1960s in Jenny by Nature (1961) and Summertime Island (1968). He also produced nonfiction with In Search of Bisco (1965) and Deep South (1968). His last novel was Annette in 1971.See also Literature.
Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . Neil A. Wynn . 2015.