Gene Stratton-Porter remembered

Posted on Jun 12 2007 in Features

porter1Gene Stratton-Porter was a self-taught naturalist, novelist, photographer and illustrator.

Here’s a glimpse of her life.

Born: Aug. 17, 1863, Wabash County.

Family: Charles Porter, husband (married 1886); Jeannette, daughter (born 1887).

Died: Dec. 6, 1924, in Los Angeles in a traffic accident.


  • Moved to Geneva in 1889.
  • By 1900, photographed birds and animals in natural habitat in the Limberlost swamp. Impressed by her photos, two outdoor magazines asked her to write articles about photography.
  • Encouraged by success of her articles, she started writing nature studies and novels based on natural locales.
  • Sold more books between 1910-1924 than any other American writer.
  • Reached a worldwide audience estimated at 50 million readers.
  • Moved to Sylvan Lake near Rome City in 1913 after Limberlost swamp was drained.
  • Moved to Los Angeles in 1920.
  • Formed her own movie studio and became one of the top five film makers of the 1920s.
  • Her remains, along with those of her daughter who died in 1977, were brought from California back to her Rome City home, the Gene Stratton-Porter Cabin State Historic Site, and reinterred in 1999.

Selected novels: The Song of the Cardinal (1903), Freckles (1904), A Girl of the Limberlost (1909), The Harvester (1911), Laddie (1913), The Keeper of the Bees (1925, published posthumously).

Selected nature studies: What I Have Done with Birds (1907), Moths of the Limberlost (1912), Friends in Feathers (1917).

Photo of Stratton-Porter courtesy of the Limberlost State Historic Site