Grace, Fran(ces Jane)
GRACE, Fran(ces Jane)
Born in Santa Monica, CA; daughter of Emile Albert (in business) and Hazel (Webster) Simons; married Jack Kenneth Grace (a consulting engineer); children: Jack Kenneth, Jr., Edward Webster. Education: Santa Monica College, A.A.; Woodbury College (now University), B.B.A.; University of California—Los Angeles, B.A. (with honors), 1977. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, music, art, jogging, theatre.
Home—Manhattan Beach, CA. Office—Department of Religious Studies, University of Redlands, Redlands, CA 92373. Agent—Marilyn Marlow, Curtis Brown Ltd., 575 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer and educator. Worked as staff writer for Santa Monica Evening Outlook, Long Beach Independent (now Independent-Press Telegram), and KSKY-Radio, Dallas, TX. Professor of religion at University of Redlands, Redlands, CA.
Branigan's Dog was listed among best books in Young Adult Service Division by American Library Association, 1981.
Branigan's Dog (young adult), Bradbury (Scarsdale, NY), 1981.
A Very Private Performance (young adult), Bradbury (Scarsdale, NY), 1983.
Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2001.
Fran Grace is a professor of religious studies at California's University of Redlands. In 2001 she published the biography Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life. Although Grace's is not the first biography written about Nation, a social reformer and fervent supporter of temperance at the turn of the twentieth century, it is the first to be written by a woman. Often viewed as an eccentric zealot skirting the borderline of insanity, Nation is considered by Grace to be a misunderstood figure, and in her book Grace attempts to demystify Nation's life. The author separates facts about Nation's life from the many untrue stories that evolved about her. As Alexandre O. Philippe commented in a review of Carry A. Nation in the Bloomsbury Review, "Grace has done a mighty job of setting the record straight, once and for all. Her book… can be hailed as the ultimate account of that larger-than-life, enigmatic werewolf/saint we love to hate." Philippe also found Carry A. Nation to be written with "passion and expressiveness" and noted that Grace's biography "constitutes a groundbreaking and challenging update to the existing canon" of books focusing on the reform movements of the late nineteenth century. Dubbing the work a "landmark biography," a Publishers Weekly contributor commented that, far from portraying Nation in the typical fashion—as "crazy, fanatical, undersexed, oversexed or menopausal"—Grace "draws on an immense body of primary sources" neglected by previous biographers.
Grace once told CA: "I've always writtern—my first novel, a Western that I wrote at age twelve, is still available for publication. I didn't sell a book-length work until I had (belatedly) studied literature at UCLA. 'Life experience,' which I try to view through comedic rather than a crabbed eye, doesn't hurt either. The older you are, the more you have to write about."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bloomsbury Review, May-June, 2002, Alexandre O. Philippe, "Exhuming the Hatchet."
Choice, March, 2002, P. D. Travis, review of Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life, p. 1308.
Journal of American History, September, 2002, review of Carry A. Nation.
Library Journal, June 15, 2001, Amy Strong, review of Carry A. Nation, p. 81.
Publishers Weekly, April 23, 2001, review of Carry A. Nation, p. 71.
Women's Review of Books, September, 2001, Carol Lasser, "Hatchet Woman," p. 17.
Booknotes.org,http://www.booknotes.org/ (October 14, 2001), transcript of interview with Grace.*