Evelyn Hanna (1900-1982)
Evelyn Hanna was one of a number of southern women whose writing became known as one of Georgia's new "money crops." Like her contemporary Margaret Mitchell, Hanna used the Civil War (1861-65) as a backdrop for her romantic fiction. The Atlanta Journal touted her novel Blackberry Winter (1938) as "a possible companion for Gone With the Wind for screen entertainment" and enlisted Hanna in the literary renaissance of the South, characterized by depictions of "that determination to endure," as critic Medora Field Perkerson expressed it. Hanna also coauthored a history of Upson County.
Born October 12, probably in 1900, in Thomaston, Evelyn Hanna was the daughter of Jessie King and Jefferson Davis Hannah. Her maternal grandfather, Captain Jacob S. King, fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Educated at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, the University of California at Los Angeles, and Wesleyan College in Macon, Hanna enrolled in Emory University's library course but decided to devote her life to writing after taking a Columbia University correspondence course in writing.
Hanna and Carolyn Walker Nottingham coauthored History of Upson County, Georgia, which was published in April 1930. The project, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, inspired Hanna to dramatize the lives of those embroiled in the Civil War. While promoting Blackberry Winter in London, England, she fell in love with her literary agent, Robert L. Sommerville, who later became her husband. In 1942 she published her second novel, Sugar in the Gourd, which portrays the struggle to uphold southern tradition in a modern world. Hanna was one of the founders of the Roswell Public Library in 1956 and in the 1960s and 1970s served on the board of trustees of the Atlanta Public Library. Hanna died on May 7, 1982, in Roswell.