Welcome to the Journeys through History website! Travel across America with extraordinary characters whose lives reveal a great deal about culture and politics in the first half of the twentieth century. Rosa Sutton became a national sensation in 1909 after she launched a fight for government accountability following the death of her son, Marine Corps Lieutenant James N. Sutton. Her crusade for justice is the murder mystery and ghost story at the center of my 2007 book A Soul on Trial. Rosa’s feisty spirit inspired her granddaughter, author and screenwriter Jane Hall, to believe she could accomplish anything.
When she was ten, Jane decided to be a writer like her father, Arizona’s beloved humorist Dick Wick Hall whose Salome Sun made the town he co-founded famous across America in the 1920s. Acclaimed as a “literary prodigy,” Jane published dozens of stories, poems, and articles before she became an orphan in 1930. See the earlier posts in this website’s blog for highlights about Jane’s modest beginnings in the tiny hamlet of Salome, Arizona, and in Manhattan Beach, California, where her career blossomed. The blog provides the back story for Such Mad Fun: Ambition and Glamour in Hollywood’s Golden Age, And we’ll also add related stories from the 1930s to 1950s that resonate today.