Edna Ferber is born on this day in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ferber went to work as a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal while still in her teens. She began publishing stories in her early 20s, and the reading public fell in love with her lively, no-nonsense character Emma McChesney, a traveling petticoat saleswoman. Ferber wrote many stories and several novels about McChesney, which were a hit with national magazines. Ferber’s deep love for the United States was expressed in detailed portraits of Oklahoma in Cimarron (1930), Texas in Giant (1952), and Alaska in Ice Palace.
Ferber also wrote plays, including Show Boat, about three generations of performers on a Mississippi riverboat, which was made into a hit musical and a movie.
Ferber died on April 16, 1968, at her home in New York City.