Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gretchen Ruediger (1912-1992)

Born November 19, 1912, North Dakota
Died June 24, 1992, Los Angeles County, California

Gretchen Ruediger, the author of the weird tale, "Wind in the Moonlight," and Gretchen Ruediger, a woman born in North Dakota in 1912 and educated in California, may be the same person, or they may be different people. Sometimes when you're doing research, you have to leap--if there's good reason to leap.

The Gretchen Ruediger born on November 19, 1912, in North Dakota was the daughter of a physician. In 1920, she and her family were living in Reno, Nevada. By 1930, they were in California. As a teenager, Gretchen received an honor for her poetry. At the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), she majored in English and was a member of Chi Delta Pi, the school's honorary society for English undergraduates. Gretchen Ruediger graduated from UCLA in 1933.

Now jump ahead seven years to the May 1940 issue of Weird Tales, "The Unique Magazine." One of the stories in that magazine, "Wind in the Moonlight," was by a woman named Gretchen Ruediger. The story was Ruediger's first and last for Weird Tales. Despite that, her name made the cover. That May issue was also the first under the editorship of Dorothy McIlwraith.

I haven't found any direct connection between the girl from North Dakota and the writer in Weird Tales, but if you care to make the leap, you might have good reason. In any case, Gretchen Ruediger married and divorced a Canadian named Blake Oliver Cossey and died on June 24, 1992, in Los Angeles County. She was only a few months short of her eightieth birthday.

Gretchen Ruediger's Story in Weird Tales
"Wind in the Moonlight" (May 1940)

Further Reading
Weird Tales for May 1940 may be the only place where you'll find more to read by or about Gretchen Ruediger.

Gretchen Ruediger (1902-1992), native of North Dakota and transplant to California, is a senior in this snippet from the UCLA yearbook of 1933. That's her, second from the right in the top row.
Gretchen Ruediger, author, found her name on the cover of the May 1940 issue of Weird Tales. Is this the same Gretchen Ruediger? If so, then a minor mystery is solved. (The cover by the way is by Hannes Bok (1914-1964), another midwesterner transplanted to the West Coast.)
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

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