On August 17, 1863, Geneva Grace Stratton (Gene), also known as the “Bird Lady,” was born in Wabash County, Indiana. She was the youngest of twelve children. She played many other roles in her lifetime, such as naturalist, photographer, natural-born storyteller, and writer.
Stratton met her husband, Charles Darwin Porter, a pharmacist, while recovering from a skull fracture. They married in 1886 and had one child, Jeannette.
Gene’s first book was The Song of the Cardinal in 1903. Many other works followed, among them favorites of a bygone generation such as Freckles, Girl of the Limberlost, and Michael O’Hallaran.
During World War II, Gene moved with her family to California and began a film company that produced her books as movies. She wrote editorials and stories and her photos appeared in many magazines across the country. In 1924, Stratton was tragically killed when a trolley car hit the limo she was riding in. At the time of her death, her book sales had topped ten million copies.