Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hurley von Ruck (1874-1934)

Born April 22, 1874, Webster Groves, Missouri
Died April 7, 1934, Asheville, North Carolina

Hurley von Ruck, author of "The Terrific Experiment" for Weird Tales (Sept. 1925), was the daughter of Benjamin Franklin Webster (1835-1903), an attorney, and Mary E. Bragg (ca. 1845-1902). Born on April 22, 1874, in Webster Groves, Missouri, she married Silvio Henry von Ruck (1875-1918) by 1900. Silvio von Ruck was a physician and the son of a physician. He was born in Kent, Ohio, of Karl von Ruck, a Turkish-born German national, and his American wife, Delia Moore von Ruck. The elder Dr. von Ruck was a world-renowned authority on tuberculosis, also called consumption. He established Winyah Sanitarium in Asheville, North Carolina, and helped turn that mountain town into a haven for sufferers from the disease. Silvio von Ruck assisted him in his work. A graduate of Toledo High School, the University of Michigan, and New York University, Silvio von Ruck also studied in Vienna and Berlin.

Together, Silvio von Ruck and Hurley Webster von Ruck had a daughter. Born in 1902, she was named Silvia, no doubt after her father, but fittingly also (though perhaps not by intent) after the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains. (The Blue Ridge Mountains are the birthplace of forestry in America.) There can be no answer as to why suffering descends upon some people beyond their share. Hurley von Ruck is a case in point, for in a period of a week in April 1918, she lost her husband and her sixteen-year-old daughter to pneumonia. Her own parents were already gone. (They had died in 1902-1903.) Within four years of the double blow of husband and daughter dying, Hurley's in-laws also passed away, Delia von Ruck in 1921, Karl von Ruck in 1922. In 1925, Hurley von Ruck's lone story for Weird Tales, "The Terrific Experiment," was published. I don't know what the story is about, but the title suggests a triumph of science, perhaps over illness.

Hurley von Ruck lived at Winyah Sanitarium in Asheville, North Carolina, from at least 1900 to after 1920. In 1930 she was a guest in a private home. She died on April 7, 1934, in Asheville, only two weeks away from her sixtieth birthday and from the sixteenth anniversary of that terrible week in which she had lost her family.

Hurley von Ruck's Story in Weird Tales
"The Terrific Experiment" (Sept. 1925)

Further Reading
You can read a description of the von Ruck house and a little on the biography of Karl von Ruck on the website of the National Register of Historic Places, here.
"Dr. Silvio von Ruck Dies," New York Times, Apr. 8, 1918.
"Dr. Karl von Ruck," obituary and photograph in The American Journal of Clinical Medicine, Dec. 1922, pp. 861-863.

Winyah Sanitarium, Asheville, North Carolina, established by Doctor Karl von Ruck for treatment of tuberculosis. The sanitarium was home to Hurley von Ruck for many years.
The von Ruck family vault at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina. Photo by CathyO at Find-a-Grave.

Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

No comments:

Post a Comment