Carson McCullers Is Born

Novelist Carson McCullers, noted for her exploration of the dilemmas of modern American life in the context of the twentieth-century South, was born on February 19, 1917, in Columbus, Georgia.

Her most famous novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, published in 1940, delves into the "lonely hearts" of four individuals—an adolescent girl, an embittered radical, a black physician, and a widower who owns a cafe—struggling to find their way in a Southern mill town during the Great Depression.

McCullers' writing was shaped by her childhood in Columbus, Georgia. Located at the falls of the Chattahoochee River in the western part of the state, Columbus boasted a thriving textile industry, powered by the river, as early as 1840. During the Civil War, it was an important supply center for the Confederacy and the site of the last major battle east of the Mississippi. Columbus remains one of the largest textile centers in the South.

Carson McCullers (February 19, 1917 – September 29, 1967) was an American writer. She wrote novels, short stories, and two plays, as well as essays and some poetry. Her first novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts of the South. Her other novels have similar themes and are all set in the South.

As the Chattahoochee crosses the fall line at Columbus, Georgia, it falls 125 feet within 2 1/2 miles producing a potential energy of between 66,000 and 99,000 horsepower. That water power made Columbus one of the leading industrial centers within the South, attracting investors and entrepreneurs. As early as 1828 the river powered a grist mill and by the 1840s it supplied power for several textile mills. By 1880 Muscogee h. p. per sq. mile was greater than any other county south of New York. Conversion of that power to electricity began with arc lighting in 1880.”

— Water Power Development at the Falls of the Chattahoochee