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Rose Franken (1895–1988)

Author of Claudia

Includes the names: Rose D. Lewin Franken, ROSE COLLECT THIS AUTHOR FRANKEN

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Short biography
Rose Dorothy Lewin was the youngest of four children. Her parents separated shortly after her birth. Her mother moved from Texas to Harlem in New York City, where the children were raised. Rose attended the Ethical Culture School and was accepted by Barnard College. In September 1913, instead of entering Barnard, she married Dr. Sigmund Franken, an oral surgeon. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and the couple spent the first ten months of their marriage at a sanitarium at Saranac Lake, New York. Rose Franken began her long, productive career by writing short stories. She persisted in the face of repeated rejection of her first novel, Pattern, until Max Perkins accepted it for Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1925. The editor and the writer became lifelong friends. Rose continued to write while raising three sons. She was a self-taught playwright who learned how to construct a drama from textbooks. Another Language, her third play, was produced at the Booth Theatre in 1932, and ran for a remarkable 453 performances. Helen Hayes starred in the 1933 film version. After her first husband’s death from TB, Rose Franken moved to Hollywood and became a successful screenwriter and novelist. Over the next five years she wrote scripts such as Say Goodbye Again, 1934; Beloved Enemy, 1936; and novels such as Of Great Riches and Twice Born, along with more short stories, which were published primarily by Redbook magazine. In 1937 she married William Brown Meloney, a lawyer, writer and executive for The New York Herald Tribune’s This Week magazine. They relocated to Longmeadow, a working farm in Lyme, Connecticut. Under their management, Longmeadow became a model of diversified farming for the local agricultural college at Storrs. The couple collaborated on film scripts and serial fiction, usually under the pseudonym Franken Meloney. Their joint novels include Strange Victory (1939), When Doctors Disagree (1940), and American Bred (1941). While still in Hollywood, Rose Franken began to publish the Claudia short stories. In 1939, she compiled them into the first of eight novels, and the Claudia works became her most popular. The books were frequently reissued, sometimes with variant titles, and translated into several languages. Rose Franken returned to the theater in 1941 after a long absence with a play called Claudia, a dramatization of her fiction. This story of a newlywed couple adjusting to marriage ran for a successful 722 performances. The play toured the USA, Australia and England, and also became a radio series. A 1943 film version starred Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young. Rose Franken continued to write and direct plays until 1948. Her autobiography, When All is Said and Done, appeared in 1962.
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