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Notable Alumni

Thelma L. Strabel

Reap the Wild Wind dustcover

Thelma L. Strabel was an American novelist who specialized in tales of the American South and sea adventures. She is best known for her novel Reap the Wild Wind, which was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post and became a successful film.

Strabel was born in Crown Point, Indiana on December 19, 1900. Prior to college, she worked as a census enumerator for the U.S. Census Bureau. She graduated from the University of Illinois and later became a fashion reporter in Paris and an advertising copywriter for the Abraham & Straus department store. As a writer, she published several novels, including Smart Woman (1933), Streamline Marriage (1937), For Richer - Or For Poorer? (1938), and You Can't Escape Forever (1938). Producer and director, Cecil B. DeMille purchased the movie rights to her best known novel, Reap the Wild Wind (1940), which he made into a 1942 movie starring Paulette Goddard and John Wayne. In the same year, her short story, The Forest Rangers, was filmed starring Fred MacMurray, Paulette Goddard, and Susan Hayward. In 1946, one of Strabel's magazine stories was adapted for film, titled Undercurrent.

Strabel continued to write novels and short stories until her death in 1959, including Storm to the South (1944) and Caribee (1957).

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 08, 2021