November 13, 1906 - July 7, 1987
Sara Henderson Hay was born and spent her early years in Pittsburgh, Pa. Her mother was from Anniston, Ala., and the family made frequent visits there. Eventually, Hay and her mother and sister moved to Anniston, where Hay attended high school and published her poems in The Anniston Star. Hay enrolled at Brenau College (now Brenau University) in Gainesville, Ga., and was the editor of the college magazine during her freshman year. After several years, she transferred to Columbia University in New York City. Following her graduation, Hay worked for the publishing firm Charles Scribner’s Sons, initially as a secretary and eventually in the Rare Book Department. During this period, she did freelance proofreading and editing. She also began publishing her poems in poetry journals and in magazines such as The New Yorker. In 1933, a collection of Hay’s poetry, Field of Honor, won a contest held by Kaleidograph Press and was published.
In 1935, Hay took a job as secretary-companion to the journalist Gladys Baker and accompanied her on a trip to Europe to interview political leaders. After the trip, Hay returned to Scribner’s as a reviewer for The Saturday Review of Literature. She continued to publish her poetry as well. In 1951, Hay moved to Pittsburgh to be with her second husband whom she had met at the MacDowell Colony the previous summer. That same year, The Delicate Balance received the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Hay’s most popular work, Story Hour, was published in 1963. That year, the Governor of Pennsylvania named her a “Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.” Her last book published in her lifetime, A Footing on This Earth, appeared in 1966. During the 1960s and 1970s, Hay made personal appearances to do poetry readings, but she gave up the practice as her health declined. She died in her sleep at her home in Pittsburgh.
Many of Sara Henderson Hay’s poems are on topics related to family and domestic life. Her book, Story Hour, is an ironic reinterpretation of traditional fairy tales.
Please check your local library for these materials. If items are not available locally, your librarian can help you borrow them through the InterLibrary Loan program. Your librarian can also help you find other information about this author.
There may be more information available through the databases in the Alabama Virtual Library. If you are an Alabama citizen, AVL can be used at your public library or school library media center. You can also get a username and password from your librarian to use AVL at home.
Last updated on May 30, 2008.