Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Katherine Yates (1865-1951)

Née Katherine M. Snyder
Aka E.E. Steven, Katherine P. Mayhew
Author, Publisher, Traveler, Club Woman
Born November 12, 1865, Drumbo, Ontario, Canada
Died October 25, 1951, Los Angeles City or County, California

I first wrote about Katherine Yates on December 13, 2013. I revised my article on January 27, 2016, and now (April 30, 2023) I find it needs a complete overhaul, so:

Katherine Merritte Snyder was born on November 12, 1865, in Drumbo, Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of Peter M. Snyder (1838-1893) and Julia P. Turner Snyder (1839-1938). Katherine arrived in the United States in 1882. By 1900, she was married and living in Chicago. Her husband was Ralph T. Yates (1856-?), a traveling salesman out of Freeport, Illinois. By Katherine Yates' account, the two were divorced in 1910.  She was living in Chicago when the enumerator of the census came around early that year. By the end of 1910, she had relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Katherine M. Yates was supposed to have had her own publishing company in Chicago, but I haven't found any confirmation of that. Her stories listed in The FictionMags Index make a very short list: "Sallie’s Red Cheek" in Pearson’s Magazine (Sept. 1902) and "Under the Hau Tree" in Weird Tales (Nov. 1925). I have found a couple of other credits for her, "Seventeen and Twenty," a short story serialized in newspapers in 1904, and a story with an unknown title in Mother's Magazine, March 1907. In 1917, a newspaper item announced that her article "Motoring on the Edge of the World" would be published in National Geographic. I don't know whether that ever happened.

The title of Katherine's lone story for Weird Tales, "Under the Hau Tree" (Nov. 1925), refers to a species of hibiscus native to the South Pacific and a part of the flora of Hawaii. The story was reprinted in Magazine of Horror #11 (Nov. 1965) and in the paperback collection The Plague of the Living Dead (1970). 

Katherine M. Yates also wrote books for children. "Chet", from 1909, was illustrated by Harold S. De Lay (1876-1950), who later contributed to Weird Tales as well. Several of her books have titles that are also prepositional phrases. That makes me wonder whether they're related somehow. Katherine's books include:
  • What the Pine Tree Heard (1903)
  • The Grey Story Book (1904)
  • On the Way There (1904)
  • Through the Woods (1906)
  • By the Roadside (1908)
  • Cheery and the Chum, illustrated by Clara Powers Wilson (1908)
  • At the Door (1909)
  • By the Wayside (1909 or before; 1913)
  • "Chet", illustrated by Harold S. De Lay (1909; 1913)
  • On the Way There: A Wonder Tale (1909)
  • Diary of One Month in Honolulu (1910)
  • Along the Trail (1912)
  • A Tale of the Rainbow Land (1914)
  • From Cell to Sunlight (1915?)
  • Up the Sunbeams (1916)
  • On the Hill-Top (1919)
  • In the Valley (1922)
  • Kat and Copy-Cat, a mystery novel as by E.E. Steven (1929)
  • The Feather Cloak (1936)
  • At the Door
  • On the Hill Top
Katherine wrote about "metaphysics" as Katherine P. Mayhew. Again, she used the pen name E.E. Steven for her self-published mystery novel Kat and Copy-Cat (1929). She was the first member of the League of American Pen Woman from Hawaii, and she was in Who's Who in America for 1922-1923. She was active in clubs in Honolulu for many years.

Katherine Yates' grandmother was Marilla (Turner) Marks Hutchins Hills (1807-1901), an author, publisher, and abolitionist. Marilla was from Zorra, Ontario, and attended Oberlin College in Ohio. One of her three marriages was to Reverend David L. Marks (1805-1845) of the Freewill Baptist Church. She had a daughter named Julia Marilla Marks or Julia P. Turner Snyder (1839-1938)--different names, same woman. Judge Edgar Benton Kinkead (1862-1930) of Columbus, originally of Washington County, Ohio, was married to Katherine's sister, Nellie M. Snyder (1862-1947). He was a professor of law at Ohio State University and author of legal textbooks.

I have found some credits for a writer of magazine fiction named Ralph T. Yates. I can't say for sure that he was the husband of Katherine Yates, but the timing is about right. The first three items are from The FictionMags Index. I found the last in my own searches.
  • "Jennie's Brother's Story" in The All-Story Magazine (Aug. 1905)
  • "The Peculiar Cruise of the Tortoise" in The Argosy (Sept. 1905)
  • "Jennie’s Brother and the Dog-Washer" in The All-Story Magazine (June 1906)
  • "The Perspicacity of Maud" in Holland's Magazine (Sept. 1905)
Katherine M. Yates, also called Kate, was a world traveler--or maybe some of her travels were just plans and dreams. She applied for passports in order to travel to Tahiti and New Zealand in 1915; Japan, China, and India in 1917; possibly the Philippines in 1919; and Europe and the British Isles in 1922. She lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, from 1910 until being evacuated in 1942 because of the threat of Japanese invasion. Once back on the mainland, she lived in Santa Paula, then in Laguna Beach, California. Katherine Merritte Snyder Yates died on October 25, 1951, and was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Katherine Yates' Story in Weird Tales
"Under the Hau Tree" (Nov. 1925)

Further Reading
"Mystery Story About Honolulu" in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 29, 1929, page 35.
"Katherine Yates Dies in California" in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 14, 1951, page 11.
"Mrs. Julia T. Snyder Dies at 99 Of Injury Received in Fall Tuesday" in the Atlanta Constitution, September 15, 1938, page 8.

Text copyright 2013, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

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