Getrude Atherton

The Horror Stories of Gertrude Atherton

Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton was born on October 30, 1857 in San Francisco, California. When she was two her parents separated and she was raised by her maternal grandfather. She was schooled at St. Mary's Hall high school in Benicia, California, and, the Sayre School in Lexington, Kentucky. On her return from Kentucky she met George H.B. Atherton, the son of Faxon Atherton, who was courting her mother. His attentions switched from mother to daughter and on February 14, 1876 they eloped. They lived at their estate at Fair Oaks, California with his domineering Chilean mother. Her life was blighted by two great events. Her son George died of diphtheria, and her husband died at sea. She was left alone with their daughter Muriel and needed to support herself. Gertrude’s first work published was "The Randolphs of Redwood: A Romance", serialized in The Argonaut in March 1882 under the pseudonym Asmodeus. When she revealed to her family that she was the author, it caused her to be ostracized. In 1888, she left for New York, leaving Muriel with her grandmother. For the next two years she shuttled between London, Pairs and California and published her first novel, What Dreams May Come, in 1888 under the pseudonym Frank Lin. In 1891, she wrote for The San Francisco Examiner where she met Ambrose Bierce, with whom she carried on a taunting, almost love-hate friendship. In 1892 she published Doomswoman and that same year she left for New York and to write for New York World and in 1894 published Before the Gringo Came (1894). Works continued to flow from her pen and today she is fondly remembered for her California series and her short stories of horror. She died on June 14, 1948 of a stroke in San Francisco.
197 printed pages


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