|Birth: ||Sep. 29, 1889|
|Death: ||Sep. 1, 1953|
Los Angeles County
d/o Jerome Bushnell & Nancy Crouse) Ulmer Davis Bushnell
w/o George Manning (abt January 1911)
m/o William Jerome Manning
w/o Marshall Bradford (abt 1925)
The following biographical sketch is reprinted in full from "American Novelists of Today," by Harry R. Warfel, published by American Book Company; New York. 1951; pp. 68-70. Note the discrepancy between the date of Adelyn's birth given here and that given above (September 29, 1889) which is the date recorded in the official records of the Town of Thomaston, Maine. Adelyn was named Adelaide, according to her birth record containing her correct birth date:
"Adelyn Bushnell was born in Thomaston, Maine, on September 29, 1894. Her father, Dr. Jerome Bushnell, trained her mind in a way unusual for those days. At the age of seven she was familiar not only with Dickens, Shakespeare, Thackeray, and Tom Paine, but she was also allowed to read 'The Decameron'. This background of reading enabled her to graduate from high school at an early age. She remembers with pride that she dashed through Caesar, Cicero, and Virgil, and went on in her senior year to read Ovid 'because she had nothing to do in Latin.' The same held true with her French.
"In 1908 Miss Bushnell entered the Leland Powers School in Boston. One of her teachers was George Riddle, at that time also a Harvard professor. He became interested in her, and she became his private pupil in English literature and the Greek drama. Through his influence she went on the stage in November, 1910, with a stock company in Patterson, New Jersey. In January, 1911, she married the company's character actor, George Manning, who died three years later; they had one son. In 1911 she obtained her first leading role in Paul Wilstach's 'The New Code,' and thereafter she starred in many dramas. In 1925 she married Marshall Bradford.
"In 1926 she lost her voice due to excessive overwork. Her friend, Kathleen Millay, suggested that she 'stop moping around about it and start to write something.' Miss Bushnell did so, and found herself launched in the business of writing and directing headline vaudeville one-act plays. Her last appearance as an actress was as star in 'Phantom Cargo' in 1933. She then engaged in the writing of full-length Broadway plays. Her first was 'I, Myself' (1934), and in 1933 she wrote 'Glory,' which was chosen by Maude Adams as the vehicle for a return to the theater under John Golden. In 1938 Miss Bushnell was co-author of 'Case History', which she directed and staged at the Lyceum Theater in New York.
"She then turned to writing one-act radio plays for such programs as 'The Magic Key,' the Edgar Bergen show, and the RCA Victor hour. In 1942 her husband joined her as co-author of these radio plays. A long illness compelled Miss Bushnell to discontinue the writing of radio scripts, for she could no longer contend physically with the speed required in that medium. It was then that she turned to the work which she has found the most satisfying, the writing of novels.
"'As to my theory and practice of fiction,' she has said, 'I feel that within everyone there is always the urge to express one's feelings toward life, toward people, and toward good and evil. I think a book should first arise from a desire to say something about a way of living or a trend of thought. The second stage is to work out the plot line of a story which can be interesting as a mere story and yet emphasize this idea or viewpoint. Then comes the blowing of the breath of life into the characters; and this part both permits and demands: it permits the author to express through the mouthpiece of his characters all that he would like to say, and it demands an observant mind that has studied other people and himself with an impartial curiosity. I thoroughly believe no one is originally good or bad; there are always circumstances which have created that good or that evil. Beginning with that attempt at understanding and using the double-lensed spectacles of humor and pity, the author should succeed in filling his books with human beings, not mere characters. A story without a purpose is valueless, but a purpose without a story is seldom heeded.'
"'Tide-Rode' (1947), her first novel, is set in a Maine sea-coast town in the 1860's and 1870's. It is the melodramatic story of a sea captain, Caleb Dow, his wife Delight, and his aged grandmother who lives in France but manages to dominate her grandson. Caleb is a man endowed with grace, power, family, and wealth. In the old days seamen said a vessel was 'tide-rode' when they meant she was anchored and helpless against the elements which battered her. This well describes Caleb, for he is bedeviled by his very gifts, and the book shows how he is eventually freed from his anchors.
"'Rock Haven' (1948) concerns two brothers, Ulysses and Virgil Ulmer, the one good and the other evil, and their relationship in Maine in the early 1900's. Perhaps this book actually emphasizes the value of time more than any other theme. Ulysses knows that time is eternal, and so he accepts it as a friend by whose side he walks. Virgil considers time as a thing of short duration. He fears time, and consequently combats it and tries to outrun it. The Chinese and occidental philosophies are contrasted; the author evinces her belief that Ulysses' Chinese philosophy is to be preferred as the only one that brings peace.
"'Pay the Piper' (1950) is laid in the Middle West, France, and Boston. It is the story of Keith James-Winter, a man who is gifted in voice, looks, intelligence, and all that should have made him one of the world's greatest singers. He lacks the two other essentials for success, the capacity for hard work and the strength to sacrifice worldly comforts. Keith becomes a 'paid piper', a false teacher who sings the song of fame to others in order that he may rob them of their purse. With him is contrasted a young singer, Al Murphy, who possesses all the qualities that the failure lacked. Opposite Al is Jennifer, who typifies the young talented singer who falls into the wrong hands and finds her voice ruined by poor teaching. Back of these three, and binding them together, is Rolf Gjerdrum, a Norwegian pianist, who represents all that is fine and honest in music."
After the preceding article was written, Adelyn wrote one more novel, 'Strange Gift' (1951), which it's book jacket describes as follows: Miss Bushnell's fourth novel is the story of Nancy Morse, a psychic or clairvoyant. During Nancy's childhood the scene is Brookline, Massachusetts, where her mother runs a fake séance business, and later Kincasset, a village in Maine, where most of the action takes place. And there is plenty of action. Needless to say, Nancy's psychic powers are as difficult for her to bear as they are for her neighbors to credit; but in a suspenseful plot her neighbors -and the reader -have much to think about before it is revealed whether Nancy can actually achieve materialization. An essential sympathy for the girl when she is doubted is very skillfully communicated by the author to the reader. This is a different kind of novel, strongly motivated and written, and thoroughly entertaining throughout. It is Miss Bushnell's best novel since 'Tide-Rode' which also successfully utilized the Maine scene.
Adelyn's play, 'I, Myself,' played on Broadway in New York in 1934. The plot is summarized as follows: Bill Trent, an unsuccessful New England lawyer, hires a hobo to kill him, thus sending his soul into the Invisible. In the After Life, Bill meets his old A. E. F. top sergeant, who accompanies him back to watch his own funeral. Bill is properly impressed with the obsequies, but it soon becomes evident that his death is not the boon to his family he had hoped. His $50,000 insurance does not prevent Mrs. Trent's being suspected of murder, does not help his daughter out of an extra-marital scrape. But ghostly Bill keeps wandering around and praying, finally sets things to rights.
Adelyn's play, 'Glory,' was made into a motion picture by 20th Century Fox in 1937, and released under the title 'Laughing at Trouble', produced by Max H. Golden and starring Jane Darwell and Sara Haden. A summary of the plot, found on a New York Times website, is as follows: "The film is called 'Laughing at Trouble', but feisty female newspaper publisher Glory Bradford (Jane Darwell) doesn't waste much of her time laughing. Using her paper as a forum, Glory does her best to clear innocent John Campbell (Allan Lane) of a trumped-up murder charge. When John escapes from jail, he hides out in Glory's home, a circumstance she takes in her usual stride. Figuring out the identity of the actual murderer, the publisher employs a bit of unorthodox (and frankly unethical) trickery to force a confession."
Adelyn's last appearance on the stage was as the star of "Phantom Cargo."
The following is excerpted from volume 1, page 10 of "Thomaston Scrapbook," written by Frank L. S. Morse between 1953 and 1965, published by the Thomaston Historical Society, 1977:
...Adelyn was a brilliant woman. I remember her as a girl who seemed quiet, good-looking, and well behaved. After leaving town she became an actress of note. She had a stock company of her own and played in Rockland for some seasons. Her first husband, George Manning, for many years dead, played with her, and their son, Bill, was a very amiable and capable youth. He now serves the United States Army, I believe, in Intelligence Service. Her second marriage was less fortunate and ended in divorce. Later she married another actor known as Marshall Bradford, who was well known and liked locally. A few years ago Adelyn appeared in a new role, that of novelist. She had three novels published, all fairly successful. The first novel, ‘Tide Rode,' treated of the old seagoing days. Her characters were vivid but purely fictitious, as they were meant to be, and could not be accepted as typical of our captains. She died in 1953 in California.
Nancy Crouse Bushnell (1850 - 1938)
Jerome Bushnell (1886 - 1928)*
Adelyn Bushnell Bradford (1889 - 1953)
Thomaston Village Cemetery
Created by: genealogyfever
Record added: Apr 30, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51842957