Bailey, Temple (c. 1869–1953)

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Bailey, Temple (c. 1869–1953)

American romance author whose many novels were serialized in popular magazines before publication. Born Irene Temple Bailey in Petersburg, Virginia, around 1869; died on July 6, 1953, in Washington, D.C.; daughter of Emma (Sprague) and Milo Varnum Bailey; educated at private schools in Richmond, Virginia; never married; no children.

Selected works:

Judy (1907); Glory of Youth (1913); Adventures in Girlhood (1917); The Blue Window (1926); Little Girl Lost (1932); Fair As the Moon (1935); I've Been to London (1937); The Pink Camellia (1942); Red Fruit (1945).

Among her estimated three million books sold, Temple Bailey could count at least 5,200 which had been bought by department-store magnate John Wannamaker. The businessman was so enamored of her work that he purchased 200 copies of each of Bailey's 26 books, passing them out to friends and associates. The size of Bailey's fees and royalties were legendary. Noted as the highest paid author of her time, she earned $60,000 from McCall's for a single serial, and Cosmopolitan paid $325,000 for the right to three serials and several short stories. While all her serials were ultimately published as books, readers—primarily women and young girls—clamored for the next installments and their appearance guaranteed high magazine sales.

Raised in Washington, D.C., in a well-to-do family, Bailey enjoyed a protected upbringing and education in private Virginia schools. That privacy accompanied her into adulthood, when she moved in elite Washington circles and counted many influential people among her friends. Bailey never married, pouring her romantic notions instead into her work, which depicted innocent heroines, happy endings, and high drama.

Crista Martin , freelance writer, Boston, Massachusetts

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