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James Smethurst

Ann Lane Petry was born and raised in the predominantly white, middle-class community of Saybrook, Connecticut. The daughter of a pharmacist, she worked in her father's drugstore as a teenager and went on to major in pharmacology at the University of Connecticut. After graduating, she worked at and managed the family drugstore in Old Saybrook. Her pharmacological endeavors notwithstanding, Petry wrote short stories while working, none of which have been published. After marrying George Petry, a mystery writer, in 1939, she moved to New York City and dropped pharmacy altogether, choosing instead to develop her career as a writer.

Her first job in New York was at a Harlem newspaper, the Amsterdam News, where she worked for four years. Petry moved on to The Peoples Voice where she wrote a column on Harlem society in the women s section of the paper Her first published work ...