This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stones for authors

On the west edge of Milroy Park, three boulders with metal plaques commemorate writers who were born in Rensselaer.
Eleanor (Stackhouse) Atkinson (1863-1942) was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune from 1888 to 1891 writing under the pen name of Nora Marks. She married in 1891 and wrote several books between 1903 and 1918, the most famous of which was Greyfriars Bobby in 1912. She divorced her husband in 1920 and died in Long Island in 1942. There is a website devoted to her at, and Greyfriars Bobby is sold on

Edison Marshall was born in Rensselaer and lived here until he was 13 when his father sold the newspaper he published and moved to Oregon to raise fruit. Marshall wrote a number of novels in the 1920s, 1940s, and 1950s, some of which were turned into movies. It does not appear that any of his novels are currently in print, but used copies of Yankee pasha: The adventures of Jason Starbuck, the book mentioned on his plaque, are sold at

In addition to this commemorative marker in Milroy Park, there is a historical marker for James Hanley (1892-1942) at the corner of Front and Washington. A composer, he is listed in the Song Writers Hall of Fame, where you can hear a clip of his song "Second Hand Rose" and see the complete list of his works. A list of movies that have used his songs is here.

Feel free to add any other information you think interesting in the comments.

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