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Patterson, Norma (ca. 1889–1991)

Elizabeth York Enstam Biography Entry

Norma Patterson, author, daughter of Walter B. and Ava (Haynes) Patterson, was born in Jasper, Texas, grew up in Beaumont, and lived in Dallas from 1919 until 1981. She attended Beaumont public schools and published her first short story, "Mollycoddle," in 1912. After graduation from Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee, she taught at Millard Elementary School in Beaumont until her family moved to Dallas. During the 1920s she wrote numerous stories about World War I and its veterans and achieved special recognition for two: "Unto Each His Crown," first published in The Bookman in 1918 and later included in two anthologies; and in 1919 "What They Brought Out of France," which critic Edward O'Brien cited as one of the "five great stories brought forth by the World War." Patterson's stories appeared in such American publications as Harper's, Designer, Delineator, People's Home Journal, Pictorial Review, Rotarian, Good Housekeeping, Holland's, Woman's Home Companion, and McCall's, as well as several popular British periodicals. In 1930 her first two novels, The Gay Procession and Jenny, were immediate best sellers. Both were published first as magazine serials, then as books, and because they were so successful, during the following decade she wrote eight more: The Sun Shines Bright (1932), Drums of the Night (1935), Out of the Ground (1937), Try and Hold Me (1937), Give Them Their Dream (1938), The Man I Love (1940), West of the Weather (1941), and Love Is Forever (1941). Six of the ten novels were best sellers. She married attorney Crate Dalton on February 22, 1936. He collaborated with her on Out of the Ground and a couple of short stories. A founding member of the Texas Institute of Letters, she also wrote for films and television and belonged to the Dallas Writers' Club, the Dallas Pen Women, Texas Woman's Press Association, and the League of American Pen Women. She died on January 25, 1991, in San Antonio at the age of 102.

Florence Elberta Barns, Texas Writers of Today (Dallas: Tardy, 1935). Dallas Morning News, January 28, 1991. Mabel Major et al., Southwest Heritage: A Literary History with Bibliography (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1938; 3d ed. 1972). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Dramatists and Novelists
  • Fiction
  • Women
  • Authors and Writers


  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Elizabeth York Enstam, “Patterson, Norma,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: