Bess Genevra Streeter was born February 17, 1881, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the last of eight children born to James and Mary Streeter. Bess graduated in 1901 from Iowa State Normal School, now known as the University of Northern Iowa, and taught for four years. She returned to Cedar Falls and worked as Assistant Supervisor at her alma mater, receiving an advanced degree in 1906. She married Charles Sweetzer Aldrich the following year.
Charles Aldrich had graduated with a law degree from Iowa State University and had been one of the youngest captains in the Spanish-American War. Following the war, he served for years as a U.S. Commissioner in Alaska.
In 1909 the Aldriches and Bess's sister and brother-in-law, Clara and John Cobb, bought the American Exchange Bank in Elmwood, Nebraska, and moved there with the Aldrich's two-month old daughter, Bess's widowed mother, and the Cobbs. Elmwood would become the locale, by whatever name she called it, of her many short stories, and it would also be the setting for some of her books.
Bess Streeter Aldrich Museum is located on 124 West D St., Elmwood, NE.Visit Museum website at www.bessstreeteraldrich.org