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Margaret Ayer Barnes

April 8, 1886 – October 25, 1967

Inducted in 2016

Works

The Age of Innocence, a dramatization of Edith Wharton's novel of the same name (produced 1928), made into a 1934 motion picture of the same name.

Jenny, a play, with Edward Sheldon (1929)

Dishonored Lady, a play, also with Sheldon (1930), made into a 1947 motion picture of the same name (aka Sins of Madeleine)

Prevailing Winds, short stories (1928)

Years of Grace, a novel (1930)

Westward Passage, a novel (1931), made into a 1932 motion picture of the same name.

Within This Present, a novel (1933)

Edna, His Wife, a novel (1935), later adapted into a play of the same name by Cornelia Otis Skinner.

Wisdom's Gate, a novel (1938)

All people who think sooner or later go through hell.

Chicago born and bred, Margaret Ayers Barnes was a novelist, short story writer and playwright. She began her writing career in earnest after a debilitating car accident at age forty in 1926. Two of her plays, Age of Innocence (adapted from the Edith Wharton novel), and Jenny each played for more than a hundred performances on Broadway. Her first novel, Years of Grace won the Pulitzer Prize in 1931 and was also the best selling book in its year of publication. The novel, set in late nineteenth century Chicago, spans four decades in the life of Jane Ward Carver, daughter of a wealthy family, from child all the way to grandmother, and shows the changing world through her eyes. Barnes followed that up with two more best sellers, Within This Present and Westward Passage, which was adapted to the screen for Ann Harding. Barnes was also an amateur actress, playing roles in productions of the Aldis Players in Lake Forest and the North Shore Theatre in Winnetka. That experience helped her launch a career on the speaking circuit.

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