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MCKENNEY, RUTH

MCKENNEY, RUTH (18 Nov. 1911-15 July 1972) immortalized the nostalgia felt for her Cleveland upbringing in the stories she wrote under the collective title My Sister Eileen. Born in Mishawaka, Ind., she was brought by her family as a child to East Cleveland, where she became valedictorian at Shaw High School. After attending Ohio State University, she became a reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal and the New York Post.Her "Eileen" stories, based on the experiences of her and her sister, first appeared in The New Yorker in the 1930s, becoming the basis for a play of the same title and a later musical, Wonderful Town. She also wrote a non-fictional account of the Goodyear rubber strike in Akron under the title Industrial Valley. Married to the writer Richard Bransten (a.k.a. Bruce Minton), she and her husband were expelled from the Communist Party in 1946 for questioning party tactics. They became expatriots, but she returned to Cleveland following his death while her daughter Eileen attended Griswold Institute in 1958-59. She died in New York, survived by the daughter, a stepson, and an adopted son of her sister Eileen, who had been killed in an automobile accident with her husband, the novelist Nathanial West.