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Ellen Gray Massey

Photo from the Lebanon Daily Record

I have admired Ellen Gray Massey for decades. As an English teacher in Lebanon, Mo., she took a page out of the Foxfire manual and set her students to recording and learning about the local folklore. The magazine they published, Bittersweet, did a remarkable job of documenting folkways in the Ozarks carefully and accurately, with little romanticizing but lots of respect. The articles from that magazine became a book — and then another.

She’s been retired for 25 years, but continues to write prolifically. Last time I checked, she was up to more than 25 books, mostly fiction, but some history and nonfiction as well. Her most recent, Footprints in the Ozarks, A Memoir, is out from Goldminds Publishing.

Ellen is a speaker, a longtime supporter of the Missouri Folklore Society, a life member of the Missouri Writers’ Guild, and an absolute treasure.