by Gertrude Atherton
Born on October 30, 1857, in San Francisco, Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton was fortunate enough to be raised by her grandfather after her parents divorced when she was two. Her grandfather was Stephen Franklin, a relative of Benjamin Franklin, was deeply committed to her education. After completing school, she ended up eloping with her mother’s suitor, George H. B. Atherton, and moved to live with him and his family in Fair Oaks, California. Life was difficult, because of the constricting role of womanhood, Atherton found herself in. Sadly, her husband and son died as a result of two different tragedies.
Left alone to care for their daughter, Muriel, Atherton turned to writing. She quickly gained notoriety after her first book, The Randolphs of Redwood: A Romance was published. Her family was very disappointed because of the nature of the publication, so she traveled to New York and Paris, where her writing began to be embraced. She wrote under psuedonyms, including male ones such as Frank Lin, especially early in her career. She was an extraordinarily prolific writer, writing dozens of books in addition to writing for newspapers and magazines, along with plays and films. She was a feminist, and in this work, The White Morning, Atherton imagines the world as led by women.