Slideshow: Famous Authors with Their Moms
In honor of Mother's Day, enjoy these tearjerking photos of authors and their mothers.
Where would we be without our mothers? For authors, mothers serve as teachers, editors, dating coaches, best friends, and literary inspiration.
Taken from the authors’ personal collections and in honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve created a slideshow of photos of famous authors with their mothers, including Dean Koontz, Erica Jong, Gloria Steinem, Octavia Butler, Pat Conroy, and more.
Steinem at a feminist speaking engagement at Oberlin College with her mother, Ruth, in 1972. Ruth had been a student at Oberlin until her family’s financial issues forced her to drop out.
Jean Craighead George
Jean Craighead George (bottom left) in Ontario, Canada, in 1923 with her twin brothers, John and Frank Craighead; mother, Carolyn; and next door playmate. Jean’s parents, aunts, and uncles, all naturalists, encouraged her interest in the world around her, and she has drawn from that passion in her more than one hundred books for children and young adults.
Hubert Selby, Jr.
Selby with his mother, Adalin, at a party for the 1988 film premiere of Last Exit to Brooklyn in Munich, Germany. Selby’s mother was a strict disciplinarian and a devout Christian who “sang in the same choir for more than sixty years.”
Bombeck with her husband, Bill; their older son, Andy; and their daughter, Betsy, in front of their home in Centerville, Ohio, circa Easter 1957. (Photo courtesy of the Bombeck family.)
A Gardner family photograph from 1957. From left to right: John Gardner, Priscilla (mother), John Sr. (father), Jim (brother), and Sandy (sister). John Sr. and Priscilla took in thirteen foster children after John and his siblings grew up and moved away.
Octavia E. Butler, age three, sits with her mother for a photo in Los Angeles in 1951.
Bradford Morrow at age one with his mother, Lois Hoffman. Morrow describes himself as “striking something of an authorial pose with the forefinger to the cheek.”
Peter Lerangis, with his mother Mary Lerangis in their apartment in Brooklyn, NY.
Jong and her daughter, Molly, in 1982, smiling with Emily Doggenson, Jong’s second Bichon Frise. This picture was first used as a holiday card and then published in magazines. Jong says she wondered if it was so beloved because mother, daughter, and dog all shared the same hair.
Pat Conroy feeding birds with his mother, Peg. In San Juan Capistrano, California, in 1948. He would later credit her with inspiring his love of language.
Susan Morse and her mother in 1980 at Williamstown, where Morse attended college.
Murdoch as an infant with her mother, Irene, in 1919. Irene was a trained opera singer, though she gave it up after Iris was born.
Dean Koontz as a young boy with his mother, Florence, whom everyone called Molly. Koontz describes her as a good soul, intelligent and kind.
Maynard with her mother, Fredelle, at Fredelle’s wedding to her longtime partner shortly before her death. In 1989 Maynard’s mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Maynard documented the story of her last months in her syndicated newspaper column, “Domestic Affairs.” That same year, Maynard’s marriage ended and she moved with her children from her rural home to the town of Keene, New Hampshire.
Lisa Alther with her mother, Alice, in Lake Champlain, Vermont, in 2000.
Young adult author Diane Hoh and her mother was taken in Ireland in 1985. Hoh recalls, “I kissed the Blarney Stone, which my mother said was redundant because I already had the ‘gift of gab.'”
Leon Uris with his mother, Anna Uris. Anna, who came from a close-knit Jewish family in Maryland, raised Leon and his sister, Essie, mostly in Baltimore and Norfolk, Virginia.
Mary Glickman with her family in 1950. In the back: Frank Kowalski. In the front row, from left to right: Carl, Robert, Mary, Freda, and Kathleen.