Who is John Garland?
John Garland published four novels between 1915 and 1920: Ross Grant Tenderfoot, Ross Grant Gold Hunter, Ross Grant on the Trail, and Ross Grant in the Miners’ Camp. That’s John Garland pictured above—my great, great aunt.
No, there weren’t any early gender benders in my family tree, (as far as I know) rather, John Garland was the pen name of Alice Louise Lee. Alice had already published a successful series of books for young ladies (A Freshman Co-Ed in 1910, A Sophomore Co-Ed in 1911, A Junior Co-Ed in 1912, and A Senior Co-Ed in1913) under her real name, but Penn Publishing Company thought the Ross Grant adventure books would sell better if the author were male. In honor of her mother, whose maiden name was Garland, my great, great aunt chose “John Garland” as her pseudonym.
Fast forward half a century to when I was a girl visiting my grandmother’s farmhouse in Northeastern Pennsylvania. My grandmother’s bookcases, with the shelf of books by Alice Louise Lee and John Garland, were a constant source of wonder. I was related to someone who wrote books! There in my grandmother’s sewing room, sitting on the braided rug in front of the bookcases with their leaded glass doors, turning the brittle pages of Aunt Alice’s books, the trajectory of my book-centric life was set in motion.
Fast forward to 2013 (exactly 100 years after the publication of Alice’s final “Co-Ed” book): In honor of all the book people in my family tree, both readers and writers, I have named my new publishing venture Garland Press.