Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eudora Ramsay Richardson (1891-1973)

Author, Administrator, Feminist, Public Speaker
Born August 13, 1891, Versailles, Kentucky
Died October 6, 1973, Richmond, Virginia

Eudora Woolfolk Ramsay Richardson was born on August 31, 1891, the daughter of a minister and college president, Dr. David M. Ramsay, and Mamie Woolfolk of Versailles, Kentucky. As a child she lived in Charleston, South Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia. Eudora married a banker, Fitzhugh Briggs Richardson, in 1917. The couple lived in Richmond and Manchester, Virginia, and had a daughter, also named Eudora Ramsay Richardson.

Eudora Ramsay Richardson was forceful and outspoken. The 1920 census gives her occupation as "war loan director" at a time when married women were discouraged from working outside the home. A decade later she was described as a writer of literature. (I guess pulp fiction is classified as literature depending on the person who does the classifying.) Eudora authored two stories for Weird Tales published halfway through the 1920s: "The Voice of Euphemia" (Mar. 1924) and "The Haunting Eyes" (Apr. 1925). She also wrote stories published in Ladies' Home Journal and Argosy All-Story Weekly.

During the Great Depression, Eudora acted as state director of the Federal Writers Project of the WPA. That project issued Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion and The Negro in Virginia. It also co-sponsored a radio show called "The Virginia Traveler," which she conducted. As a writer, Eudora was a jack-of-all-trades: she wrote radio and television scripts, provided a preface for Roanoke: Story of a County and City (1942), and prepared scholarly articles for journals such as Thought and the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. Her other works included Little Aleck (1932), a biography of the vice-president of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens; The Woman Speaker (1936); The Influence of Men--Incurable (1936); Dinwiddie County: "The Countrey of the Apamatica" (with the WPA, 1942); Quartermaster Supply in the Fifth Army in World War II (1950); and Drink and Stay Sober (with Josiah Pitts Woolfolk, 1954). Her papers, located at the University of Virginia Library, include other manuscripts that may or may not have been published. She was a member of the Southern Women's Educational Alliance and in that and other capacities gave talks on women's issues, history, and other topics. Eudora Ramsay Richardson lived in Richmond late in life and passed away on October 6, 1973, at Westport Manor Nursing Home. She was eighty-two years old.

Eudora Ramsay Richardson's Stories in Weird Tales
"The Voice of Euphemia" (Mar. 1924)
"The Haunting Eyes" (Apr. 1925)

Further Reading
An Internet search for the name Eudora Ramsay Richardson will yield abundant results. Her views on men are especially interesting and provocative.

The cover of E. Ramsay Richardson's Little Aleck, A Life of Alexander H. Stephens, The Fighting Vice-President of the Confederacy (1932). 
The cover of a later book, Drink and Stay Sober (1954), co-authored by Josiah Pitts Woolfolk, perhaps a cousin to the author.
Eudora Ramsay Richardson, circa 1936, in Richmond, Virginia. From the Richmond History Center.

Revised August 31, 2018
Text and captions copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

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