Coates, Grace Stone, 1881-1976

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1881
Death 1976

Biographical notes:

Grace Stone Coates was born on 20 May 1881 on a farm outside of Ruby, Kan. Although she never took a degree, she attended Oshkosh Normal, University of Chicago, and the University of Southern California. In 1904, she was a teacher in Butte. It was during this time she met her husband, Henderson Coates, who ran the general store and post office in Martinsdale, Mont. They were married in 1910 and moved to Martinsdale. Grace continued teaching in Martinsdale and was the superintendent of schools for Meagher County (1919-1921). She began writing and her first poem was published in Poetry in 1921. In 1927, her poems started appearing in Frontier (a magazine of the Northwest out of Missoula), beginning a decade long relationship with the magazine. She became acquainted with the editor of Frontier, H.G. Merriam, and was hired as the assistant editor in 1929, a job she kept until 1939 when the Frontier and Midland went out of publication. In addition to her poetry, Coates published three works, Mead and Mangel-Wurzel (1931), Black Cherries (1931), and Portulacs in the Wheat (1932). By 1935, her last poem appeared in Frontier. She continued writing as a journalist for many of the local papers, and she also helped write the state guidebook for the WPA Federal Writers Project. In 1963, she moved to the Hillcrest Retirement Home in Bozeman where she wrote "Hillcrest Highlights" for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She died on 25 Jan. 1976.

From the description of Grace Stone Coates papers, 1881-1960 (bulk 1933-1960). (Montana State University Bozeman Library). WorldCat record id: 70924594

Grace Stone Coates was born on 20 May 1881 on a farm outside of Ruby, Kansas. Although she never took a degree, she attended Oshkosh Normal, University of Chicago and the University of Southern California. In 1904, she was a school teacher in Butte. It was during this time she met her husband, Henderson Coates, who ran the general store and post office in Martinsdale, Montana. They were married in 1910 and moved to Martinsdale. Grace continued teaching in Martinsdale and was the Superintendent of Schools for Meagher County from 1919-1921. She began writing and her first poem was published in Poetry in 1921. In 1927, her poems started appearing in Frontier (a magazine of the Northwest out of Missoula) beginning a decade long relationship with the magazine. She became acquainted with the editor of Frontier, H. G. Merriam, and was hired as the assistant editor in 1929, a job she kept until 1939 when the Frontier and Midland went out of publication. In addition to her poetry, Coates published three works. Her first work, published in 1931, was Mead and Mangel-Wurzel, a collection of 130 poems. In the same year, Black Cherries, her only novel, was also published. Her final work, Portulacs in the Wheat, published in 1932, is a collection of 42 poems. She also edited two books, Riding the High Country by Patrick T. Tucker, and Jugheads Behind the Lines by Carl Noble. By 1935, her last poem appeared in Frontier . Coates did not, however, completely stop writing. She continued writing as a journalist for many of the local papers. She also helped write the state guidebook for the WPA Federal Writers Project. In 1963, she moved to the Hillcrest Retirement Home in Bozeman where she wrote "Hillcrest Highlights" for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She passed away on 25 January 1976.

From the guide to the Grace Stone Coates Papers, 1933-1960, (Montana State University-Bozeman Library, Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections)

Grace Stone Coates was born May 20, 1881 on a wheat farm in Kansas, the daughter of Heinrich and Olive Stone. Heinrich Stone, who had been a teacher of Greek in Berlin, Germany, fostered Coates' love for the classics. Coates attended high school in Wisconsin. She later attended both Normal College in Wisconsin and Chicago University for a year. In addition, she completed terms at the University of Southern California, University of Hawaii, and carried on correspondence work into middle age, but never received a degree. She received a teaching certificate in 1900. She taught high school in Butte, Montana, where she met Henderson Coates, who owned a livery business with his brother in Martinsdale, Montana. The Coates married in 1910 and settled on a ranch near Martinsdale. Grace S. Coates taught in Martinsdale from 1914 to 1919. She also served as Meagher County Superintendent of Schools from 1918 to 1921, and was on the County Board of Examiners for many years.

In the 1920s, Coates became more dedicated to her writing and began submitting work to various publications. She published her first poem, "The Intruder," in Poetry, a Magazine of Vers e, in 1921. She went on to publish in such periodicals as The Greenwich Quill, The Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times, among others. In 1929, she won the Bozart Prize for a quatrain poem and her story, "Wild Plums," was collected in the Anthology of the American Short Story . The same year, four of Coates' short stories appeared in O'Brian's Yearbook of the American Short Story . Coates wrote intermittently for the Harlowton and Meagher County papers, as a society reporter. She was also a prolific letter writer.

Coates was the assistant editor of the University of Montana's literary magazine, The Frontier, edited by H.G. Merriam. Coates published a book of short stories, Black Cherries, in 1929, with Merriam's encouragement. She wrote two volumes of verse, Mead and Mangel-Wurzel in 1931, and Portulacas in the Wheat in 1932. Coates edited volumes of prose for the Caxton Press until 1937. She co-authored Patrick T. Tucker's book Riding the High Country about artist Charles M. Russell. She edited such books as Taylor Gordon's Born to Be and John Barrows' Ubet . She continued to be collected by O'Brien and her biography appeared in Principal Women of America . In November 1935, Coates was appointed district superintendent of the Federal Writers' Project. She continued as assistant editor of The Frontier until 1939, the magazine's final year.

Henderson Coates died in 1952. Coates' literary output was much less in the following years. During her later years, Coates wrote a column for the Bozeman Chronicle from a Martinsdale retirement home. She died in January 1976 at age 95. Her poems and biography appear in the book, Honey Wine and Hunger Root, by Lee Rostad, published in 1985.

From the guide to the Grace Stone Coates Papers, 1930-1932, (Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections)

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Subjects:

  • Women
  • Women poets, American--Montana
  • American poetry
  • American poetry--Montana
  • American literature--20th century
  • Publishers and Publishing
  • Literature
  • Montana, a state guide book
  • Montana

Occupations:

  • Women poets, American--Montana

Places:

  • Gallatin City (Mont.)-Maps (as recorded)
  • Montana (as recorded)
  • Gallatin City (Mont.) (as recorded)