Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Valma Clark (1894-1953)

Aka Lyssa Carrol
Author, Playwright, Journalist, Teacher
Born July 20, 1894, Sedalia, Missouri
Died September 29, 1953, in the American Hospital of Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Valma Clark was born on July 20, 1894, in Sedalia, Missouri, and graduated from the University of Rochester in 1916 with a degree in the arts. She was a teacher and journalist, but she was best known in her time for her short stories and novels. Under her own name and under the pseudonym Lyssa Carrol, she contributed to Action Stories, Ainslee's Magazine, All Sports, The American Magazine, Brief Stories, Collier's, Cosmopolitan, The Delineator, The Double Dealer, Liberty, Munsey'sStreet and Smith’s Detective Story Magazine, and many women's magazines. The FictionMags Index lists many of her credits but not the following:
  • "The Two Men Who Murdered Each Other" in Weird Tales (July/Aug. 1923)
  • "Zillah" in Weird Tales (Mar. 1924)
  • "Candlelight Inn" in Scribner's Magazine (Nov. 1926)
  • "Class" in Scribner's Magazine (Dec. 1927)
  • "Keeper of the Peace" in Modern Homemaking (Aug. 1929)
  • "The Will to Win" in Woman's World (July 1936)
  • A piece in Ladies' Home Journal (Apr. 1937)
  • "Tennis for Two" in Pictorial Review (Aug. 1938)
  • "Murder by the Stars" in Detective Story Magazine (Apr. 1943)
  • "The Man Who Loved the Classics" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (July 1951)
Her story "Judgement of the West" was made into a movie called The Slanderers (1924). "Ignition," from Scribner's (Jan. 1923) was selected for Best Short Stories Of 1923 (1924). Valma also wrote The Critic: A One-Act Comedy (1935) and two novels, Their Own Country (1934) and Horn of Plenty (1945). She lived in France from 1929 to 1940 and was in Paris with her sister Olga Clark (later Olga Clark Smith) when the Nazis invaded. During the war she worked for the United States government in Washington, D.C. An obituary in the Rochester Review (Feb. 1954, p. 31) summarizes her career:

Valma Clark died on September 29, 1953, and was buried at Neuilly-sur-Seine New Communal Cemetery in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Valma Clark's Stories in Weird Tales
"The Two Men Who Murdered Each Other" (July/Aug. 1923)
"Zillah" (Mar. 1924)

Further Reading
"The Two Men Who Murdered Each Other" was reprinted in The Best of Weird Tales, 1923, edited by Marvin Kaye and John Gregory Betancourt (1997).

Two magazines with Valma Clark's byline on the cover, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine for November 1944 (top) and for August 1949, Australian edition (bottom).

Text and captions copyright 2014, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

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