Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Arnow, Harriette

Harriette Arnow is the noted author of popular novels such as The Dollmaker, Hunter’s Horn and The Weedkiller’s Daughter. She was born in 1908 in Wayne County, Kentucky. Her Kentucky background and upbringing affected her writing and she wrote numerous stories about where she grew up.

After graduating from college and teaching for a few years, Arnow concentrated on her writing. She began working odd jobs, and her first novel, Mountain Path, was completed in 1936. She married Harold B. Arnow in 1939 and they moved to Detroit in 1944 when he took a job with the Detroit Times.

Arnow wrote two bestsellers, Hunter’s Horn and The Dollmaker while living in Detroit. The Dollmaker was a semi-autobiographical novel that traces the life of a Kentucky woman who follows her husband to 1940s Detroit. It starkly portrays the oppressiveness of life in an urban setting and offers a glimpse into Detroit in the 1940s.

After World War II the Arnows moved near Ann Arbor and lived on a farm, where Harriette continued her writing.

Arnow won numerous awards for her writing, including the Weatherford Award for her writings about Appalachian subjects and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Berea College. The Dollmaker is considered a seminal work in American literature.

Harriette Arnow is a member of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame. She died on March 22, 1986.