Gene Stratton-Porter was born on August 17th 1863 as Geneva Grace Stratton in Wabash County, Indiana.
Gene was entirely self-taught as well as being highly skilled as both a nature photographer and naturalist.
Her first attributed novel was 'The Song of the Cardinal' (1903), about a red bird living along the Wabash River. The book explained how birds lived in their habitats and also included her photographs. It was a modest success.
For her next novel 'Freckles', Gene decided to combine nature and romance. Published in 1904 it became a best-seller.
Sales of her third novel, 'At the Foot of the Rainbow' in 1907, about two friends who enjoy fishing and trapping, were lackluster.
'A Girl of the Limberlost' (1909), which was highly successful and her best-known work to date brought her worldwide recognition.
As a successful author publishers were keen to tie her down to a long-term contract. In 1910, she signed a long-term agreement with Doubleday, Page and Company to publish one manuscript each year, alternating between novels and non-fiction nature books.
In 1911 came her wildly successful 'The Harvester', based on David Langston, who harvests and sells medicinal herbs, and Ruth Jameson, who embodies his ideal partner. It reached number one on the best-seller list in 1912.
Another best-seller followed in 1912 with 'Laddie: A True Blue Story'. It was written while she helped supervised construction of her home at Sylvan Lake in Noble County, Indiana.
Whilst Gene continued to write her sales figures began their inexorable decline: 'Michael O'Halloran' (1915), 'A Daughter of the Land' (1918), 'Her Father's Daughter' (1921), 'The White Flag' (1923), 'The Keeper of the Bees' (1925) and 'The Magic Garden' (1927) were the last of her novels. The latter two were written at her home on Catalina Island and published posthumously.
In 1919, after recovering from a serious bout of influenza and completing her nature book 'Homing with the Birds' (1919), she decided to move to Los Angeles. The sunshine and better social activities appealed to her. She continued to write novels and poetry, and in addition, a series of monthly articles for McCall's magazine. For McCall's she wrote so much that it was able to continue publishing for 3 years after her death.
Gene wrote somewhere in the order of twenty-six published books including twelve novels, eight nature studies, two books of poetry, and four collections of stories and children's books.
In 1924 dissatisfied with the results of her novels that were being turned into films she founded Gene Stratton-Porter Productions, Inc., one of the first female-owned studios. It produced two films before her untimely death.
Gene Stratton-Porter died on December 6th, 1924 from injuries sustained in a car crash at the age of sixty-one, in Los Angeles, California.