Loula Grace Erdman, writer, daughter of August F. and Mollie (Maddox) Erdman, was born on June 8, 1898, near Alma, Lafayette County, Missouri. She attended Central Missouri State College (B.S., 1931) and Columbia University (M.A., 1941). She also studied at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Southern California, and West Texas State College. She subsequently moved to Texas and taught in the Amarillo public schools and at West Texas State College, where she eventually became novelist-in-residence and director of the Advanced Workshop in Creative Writing.
Erdman began writing in the 1930s, and by 1946 about fifty of her short stories and magazine articles had been published, as well as her first juvenile novel, Separate Star (1944), a book about career teaching. In 1946 she won the $10,000 Dodd, Mead-Redbook Award for The Years of the Locust (1947), a novel set in her native Missouri. In 1952 she received the American Girl-Dodd, Mead Award for The Wind Blows Free (1952), the first volume of a juvenile trilogy about a pioneer Panhandle family. She continued the story of the Pierce family in The Wide Horizon (1956) and The Good Land (1959). Room to Grow (1962), a novel about French immigrants who moved to the Panhandle via New Orleans, won her the Texas Institute of Letters Juvenile Award. She received both the Texas Institute of Letters Award and the Steck-Vaughn Award for A Bluebird Will Do (1973). Her other works include A Wonderful Thing and Other Stories (1940), Fair Is the Morning (1945), Lonely Passage (1948), The Edge of Time (1950), Three at the Wedding (1953), My Sky Is Blue (1953), The Far Journey (1955), Short Summer (1958), Many a Voyage (1960), The Man Who Told the Truth (1962), Life Was Simpler Then (1963), Another Spring (1966), Bright Sky (1969), A Time to Write (1969), and Save Weeping for the Night (1975).
Miss Erdman was a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, the Panhandle Penwomen, Delta Kappa Gamma, Kappa Delta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi. As a career teacher who never considered abandoning teaching even after she gained recognition as a writer, she also belonged to the National Education Association and the Texas State Teachers Association. She attended Polk Street Methodist Church in Amarillo and died in that city on June 20, 1976.
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Ernestine P. Sewell, Loula Grace Erdman (Austin: Steck-Vaughn, 1970).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Erdman, Loula Grace,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 19, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: