Kathleen Winsor (October 13 or 16, 1915 * – May 26, 2003) was an author, best known for the controversial novel Forever Amber published in 1944. She began her writing career in 1937 at the Oakland Tribune where she wrote a sports column 5 from a woman's point of view, which was published three times a week. She wrote at the Tribune for a 6 months, then worked as a receptionist at the newspaper for 6 months. 7
Forever Amber was banned in 14 states and Australia. Naturally this boosted the popularity.
The Massachusetts attorney-general found 70 references to sexual intercourse, 39 illegitimate pregnancies, seven abortions, 10 scenes in which women undressed in front of men who were not their husbands, and nearly 50 "miscellaneous objectionable passages" — and announced that the book would be banned (an action overturned on appeal).
Of course, the bans were coded messages to the American reading public, which concluded that the book sounded like fun. It was, and 100,000 copies were snapped up in the first week. Altogether, Forever Amber sold more than 3m copies and was translated into 16 languages. 1
Hollywood thought it sounded profitable, and purchased the movie rights. A film version of Forever Amber was released in 1947.
Winsor was born in Minnesota but raised in Oakland. * In 1930, she lived with her parents Harold Lee Winsor (March 1, 1886 – March 31, 1971) and Myrtle Crowder (Winsor) (February 15, 1888 – December 19, 1964), and her brother Edward Harold Winsor (November 30, 1918 – February 17, 1977) at 3012 Sylvan Avenue in Lincoln Highlands. She attended the Fruitvale School c.1929, and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1933. 6 She attended UC Berkeley, where she met her first husband, Robert Herwig. They were married in her parents' home in Glenview by Rev. Rollo C. LaPorte of Park Boulevard Presbyterian on November 26 or 27, 1936. 4
From at least 1933 to at least 1964, her parents lived at 3811 Randolph Avenue in Glenview. Winsor's 1938 voter registration lists the Randolph Avenue address.
Harold was in real estate, later partner of the Holman-Winsor Co., and c.1947 starting his own business, The Winsor Company. 5
Edward attended the Boeing School of Aeronautics c.1943.
Winsor was married 4 times: college football star and WWII Marine Robert "Bob" Herwig, bandleader Artie Shaw, divorce attorney Arnold Krakower, and attorney and FCC chairmanPaul A. Porter. She was married to Porter from 1956 until Porter's untimely death in 1975 when he choked on some lobster while at a restaurant. He lapsed into a coma and died 5 days later.
* NB: Some obituaries for her 1 (and hence Wikipedia) say she was raised in Berkeley, but the 1923 directory (1220 Excelsior), 1928 directory (3012 Sylvan), and 1930 and 1940 census listings show her family living in Oakland. c.1924-1925 they lived in Alameda. She did live in Berkeley when she was married to Robert Herwig c.1940.
Likewise it says she was born October 16, 1919, but various census listings, the Minnesota birth index, and her 1946 visa for travel to Brazil indicate she was born October 13, 1915. At the time of her marriage in 1936, she gave her age as 21. The census listings and other sources indicate her brother was born in November 1918 and was about 3 years younger.
Links and References
Famous '30s Campus Romance: The Conclusion The Bear Insider [ dead link ]
Kathleen Winsor on Wikipedia
Forever Amber on Wikipedia
Looking Back: Former Tribune writer authored book that still holds up by Erika Mailman Oakland Tribune July 29, 2010
A spirt preserved in 'Amber' Los Angeles Times June 15, 2003
Kathleen Winsor obituary Guardian June 3, 2003
Mrs. Bob Herwig Claims Grid Stars Misunderstood Oakland Tribune September 5, 1937
'Bob' Herwig, One of Stars in Big Game for U.C.. Will Wed Oakland Tribune November 23, 1936
announcement Oakland Tribune July 28, 1947
1722 Oakland Pupils Listed For High School Graduation Oakland Tribune May 31, 1933
Former Tribune Girl Sports Writer Becomes Ace Novelist Oakland Tribune September 21, 1944