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American novelist and short story writer Bess Streeter Aldrich lived in this Elmwood house from 1922-1945. Aldrich wrote many of her works while she lived here with her husband and children. When you visit, a guide will take you through the house's two stories. You'll learn about Aldrich's life, her writings, and what life was like for the family here. The guide will also share highlights of the house's history. The house is handicap-accessible on the first floor. A video of the second story is available for viewing by those who do not wish to take the stairs to the second floor. The tour usually takes about 45 minutes. The house includes a gift shop that sells novels and short story collections by the author.


  • Bess Streeter Aldrich's house, "The Elms," as viewed from the southeast

Bess Streeter Aldrich wrote sporadically in her early life, but after the death of her husband in 1925, she wrote and published to support her family. Aldrich focused primarily on small town and pioneer life, using Elmwood, Nebraska, as a model, though never naming the town specifically in her stories. Aldrich researched novels such as A Lantern in Her Hand through accounts provided to her by actual residents and pioneers of Nebraska. As such, though fictionalized, her stories and novels give readers insight into the lives of these important figures in Midwest and Western settlement and in the development of rural towns. 

"House Tours," Bess Streeter Aldrich Foundation. January 1st 2006. Accessed March 30th 2020. http://www.bessstreeteraldrich.org/house_tour.html.

Martin, Abigail Ann. "Bess Streeter Aldrich." In Bess Streeter Aldrich, 5-41. Boise, Idaho: Boise State University, 1992. Quoted in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, edited by Janet Witalec. Vol. 125. Detroit, MI: Gale, 2002.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

By Ammodramus - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27460261