Elswyth Thane

Elswyth Thane Ricker (Beebe) was born May 16, 1900 in Burlington, Iowa. In 1918 she moved to New York and changed her name to Elswyth Thane. She began as a freelance writer in 1925 and her first book was "Riders of the Wind," published in 1926 and dedicated to William Beebe. She based the book's main character on Beebe. She was also a newspaper woman and film writer during the era of the "Talkies."

Fifty-year-old William Beebe married then 24-year-old Elswyth Thane Ricker Sept. 22, 1927. They were married on Harrison Williams' yacht, "Warrior" off Oyster Bay. Guests included Professor and Mrs. Henry Osborn, Col. and Mrs. Anthony R. Kuser and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. Their marriage announcement is in the Social News section of the New York Times, Sept. 23, 1927, p.34.)
It is interesting to note that Beebe's staff member Helen Tee-Van illustrated Thane's book "Reluctant Farmer."
During the war, the government of Bermuda appropriated the Beebes' estate in Bermuda. Although they were somewhat monetarily compensated for the purchase, Thane was extremely bitter about the loss of the property. Beebe then purchased the Department of Tropical Research's station in Trinidad, Venezuela, which he named "Simla" for the mountain he saw on his travels to the Far East.
When her husband died, she was upset that she could no longer live the life she had grown accustomed to and grew somewhat bitter that Beebe left her but half of his "estate" giving the other half to his longtime research associate and girlfriend, Jocelyn Crane.
Books Authored by Elswyth Thane
Riders of the Wind, Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1926
(She dedicates "Riders of the Wind" to William Beebe)
Echo Answers, Stokes, 1927
Cloth of Gold, Stokes, 1929
His Elizabeth, Stokes, 1928
Bound to Happen, Putnam, 1939
Queen's Folly
Remember Today, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1941
Melody, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1950
The Lost General, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1953
Letter to a Stranger, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1954
From This Day Forward
Dawn's Early Light (Williamsburg Series Novel, originally issued in 1943)
Yankee Stranger (originally issued in 1944)
Ever After (originally issued in1945)
The Light Heart (originally issued in 1947)
Kissing Kin (originally issued in 1948)
This Was Tomorrow (originally issued in 1951)
Homing (originally issued in 1957).
Non Fiction
The Tudor Wench, Harcourt, 1932
Young Mr. Disraeli, Harcourt, 1936
England Was an Island Once, Harcourt, 1940
The Bird Who Made Good, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1947
(I actually have an 'autographed' copy 'signed' by the bird)
Reluctant Farmer, 1950 (It was also published in 1976 as "Strength of the Hills," Christian Herald House)
The Family Quarrel, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1959
Washington's Lady, 1960
Potomac Squire, 1963
Mount Vernon Is Ours, 1966
Mount Vernon: The Legacy, Lippincott, 1967
Mount Vernon, the Legacy : The Story of Its Preservation and Care since 1885
Mount Vernon Family, MacMillan, 1968
The Virginia Colony, MacMillan, 1969
Dolly Madison: Her Life and Times, 1970
Fighting Quakers: Nathanael Greene, Hawthorn, 1972

The Tudor Wench, produced in 1934.
Young Mr. Disraeli, produced in London in 1935 and New York in 1937.


Des Moines Register page about Elswyth Thane

The University of Iowa - Her Papers


The Official William Beebe Web Site is copyrighted 2000 - 2016 by Catharine L. Hines. All rights reserved. No images may be reproduced as many of them are copyrighted and are used with permission of the copyright holder. Last updated Dec 2015.