GRACE EDGINGTON JORDAN (1892-1985)
Grace Jordan taught English, journalism, and fiction writing at the University of California Berkeley, University of Washington, University of Oregon and Boise Junior College. She was a lifelong freelance journalist, created poetry, and wrote Home Below Hells Canyon, which was translated into six languages. Her books were based in Idaho, and she is credited with acquainting people throughout the nation and world with the many facets of the state. Jordan was very active in the Idaho Writers League, for which she sponsored a short story contest.
Jordan was born in Wasco, Oregon on April 16, 1892, the daughter of a country doctor and a school teacher, Dr. and Mrs. Jesse Edgington. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English from the University of Oregon, along with a Phi Beta Kappa Key. Jordan freelanced for many northwest papers after college and worked as the society editor for the Eugene Morning Register and as a correspondent for the Lewiston Tribune. She married Leonard B. Jordan, who became both a governor and a senator of Idaho, on December 30, 1924, and moved to a ranch at Kirkwood Bar on the Idaho side of the Snake River in 1933 with their three children.
Jordan is best known for her first book Home Below Hells Canyon (1954), which details the lives of the Jordan family on the Snake River ranch. She and her husband Len lived on Kirkwood Bar until the early 1940s. Her other books include Canyon Boy (1960), The King’s Pines of Idaho (1961), The Idaho Reader (1963), The Unintentional Senator (1972) and Country Editor (1976). The sequel to Home Below Hells Canyon, The Unintentional Senator, is a memoir of their lives during Len Jordan’s career in public service. Country Editor, the novel of a woman who edits a small town newspaper, and Canyon Boy, are novels that capture the culture and history of the western landscape. Described as “a love-letter to Idaho,” The King’s Pines of Idaho is a history of the Brown family in McCall. Jordan also compiled and edited The Idaho Reader (1963), a collection of articles and short stories written by published and unpublished Idaho writers. Jordan’s final work, Idaho Reflections (1984), is a collection of poetry recapitulating her love of Idaho, her sense of humor, and her empathy for others.
Grace Jordan passed away on September 20, 1985. Grace Jordan Elementary School is named in her honor.
Contributors to this exhibit
Mary Carter, BSU Albertsons Library
Alan Virta, BSU Albertsons Library