Susan Glaspell (1876–1948) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and novelist, a writer of short stories, and, for a short while, a journalist. She was born in Davenport, Iowa, attended Drake University in Des Moines, and worked for several years as a reporter at the Des Moines Daily News and other local newspapers, but she discovered early on that her interest was in writing fiction. Her first novel, The Glory of the Conquered (1909), became a national bestseller and drew a rave review in the New York Times. Subsequent novels in the early teens did almost as well.

Although she was widely regarded during her lifetime, Glaspell is little read or performed today, with one major exception: “A Jury of Her Peers” (1917). It was adapted from her one-act play, “Trifles,” written and produced in Provincetown a year earlier. Set in the rural Midwest, it was inspired by an actual murder that took place in Iowa in 1900, and which Glaspell had covered for the Des Moines Daily News.

Watch editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub converse with guest host Christopher DeMuth (Hudson Institute) about the story. For a discussion guide and more, visit whatsoproudlywehail.org/curriculum/the-meaning-of-america/law-abidingness

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