Grace Stone Coates was born May 20, 1881 on a wheat farm in Kansas, the daughter of Heinrich and Olive Stone. Heinrich Stone, who had been a teacher of Greek in Berlin, Germany, fostered Coates' love for the classics. Coates attended high school in Wisconsin. She later attended both Normal College in Wisconsin and Chicago University for a year. In addition, she completed terms at the University of Southern California, University of Hawaii, and carried on correspondence work into middle age, but never received a degree. She received a teaching certificate in 1900. She taught high school in Butte, Montana, where she met Henderson Coates, who owned a livery business with his brother in Martinsdale, Montana. The Coates married in 1910 and settled on a ranch near Martinsdale. Grace S. Coates taught in Martinsdale from 1914 to 1919. She also served as Meagher County Superintendent of Schools from 1918 to 1921, and was on the County Board of Examiners for many years.
In the 1920s, Coates became more dedicated to her writing and began submitting work to various publications. She published her first poem, "The Intruder," in Poetry, a Magazine of Verse, in 1921. She went on to publish in such periodicals as The Greenwich Quill, The Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times, among others. In 1929, she won the Bozart Prize for a quatrain poem and her story, "Wild Plums," was collected in the Anthology of the American Short Story. The same year, four of Coates' short stories appeared in O'Brian's Yearbook of the American Short Story. Coates wrote intermittently for the Harlowton and Meagher County papers, as a society reporter. She was also a prolific letter writer.
Coates was the assistant editor of the University of Montana's literary magazine, The Frontier, edited by H.G. Merriam. Coates published a book of short stories, Black Cherries, in 1929, with Merriam's encouragement. She wrote two volumes of verse, Mead and Mangel-Wurzel in 1931, and Portulacas in the Wheat in 1932. Coates edited volumes of prose for the Caxton Press until 1937. She co-authored Patrick T. Tucker's book Riding the High Country about artist Charles M. Russell. She edited such books as Taylor Gordon's Born to Be and John Barrows' Ubet. She continued to be collected by O'Brien and her biography appeared in Principal Women of America. In November 1935, Coates was appointed district superintendent of the Federal Writers' Project. She continued as assistant editor of The Frontier until 1939, the magazine's final year.
Henderson Coates died in 1952. Coates' literary output was much less in the following years. During her later years, Coates wrote a column for the Bozeman Chronicle from a Martinsdale retirement home. She died in January 1976 at age 95. Her poems and biography appear in the book, Honey Wine and Hunger Root, by Lee Rostad, published in 1985.
The collection contains general correspondence between Grace Stone Coates and T.A. Powers of Columbus, Ohio, from 1931 to 1932. The collection includes 42 poems by Grace Stone Coates, many of which were published in various literary publications. The poems contain revision marks and publication notes. The collection also includes a published poem by Anna H. Branch, an advertisement for a poetry anthology, and a page from Coates' book, Mead and Mangel-Wurzel.
Restrictions on Access :
Researchers must use collection in accordance with the policies of Archives and Special Collections, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, and The University of Montana--Missoula.Restrictions on Use :
Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. and any other applicable statutes. Copyright not transferred to The University of Montana.Preferred Citation :
[Name of document or photograph number], Grace Stone Coates Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, The University of Montana--Missoula.
Acquisition Information :
Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum on December 19, 1985.Processing Note :
The actions of the original processors are unknown. In 2001, the collection was re-described.Related Materials :
The Montana Historical Society holds a small collection of Coates materials.
Montana State University holds a small collection of Coates materials.
Detailed Description of the Collection
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.