University of Arizona

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Rosemary Drachman: Journalist, Adventurer, Novelist

Rosemary Drachman: Journalist, Adventurer, Novelist

March is Women’s History Month which celebrates the contributions of generations of women to history.  Special Collections houses many collections about extraordinary Tucson women who have contributed to UA and Tucson history.  One local author, Rosemary Drachman became a bestselling author who defied the norms for women of her time.  She came from a pioneer Tucson family, the daughter of Mose and Ethel Drachman, the 3rd generation of Drachmans to live in Tucson.  Rosemary became the bestselling author of several books based on her childhood in Tucson including Chicken Every Sunday: My Life with Mother’s Boarders which relates events of growing up in her mother’s Tucson boarding house and later was adapted for both stage and film. 

She attended Stanford University before traveling Europe from 1923-1924.  Since childhood Rosemary was interested in writing and while traveling she met Floyd Gibbons, an American war correspondent.  She followed him to Morocco in 1925 and they spent the year covering the Riff War, a war between the colonial power Spain and the Moroccan Berbers.  There Rosemary began her writing career, selling articles to newspapers including the Tucson Citizen.  While in Morocco, Rosemary kept detailed journals of her trip as well as copies of her articles and short stories which are located in this collection. Rosemary was a prolific correspondent, exchanging letters with her family during her travels and publicity tours as well as the 30 years worth of correspondence carbons she kept as a personal diary.  She returned to Tucson in the 1930’s and married John Winchcombe-Taylor in 1934.  He was also a writer, mainly writing adventure stories for various pulp magazines in the 1920’s and 1930’s. 

With the start of World War II, John and Rosemary moved in Canada in 1939 where John joined the Canadian military serving as a Major until 1943.  Rosemary alternated living in Tucson and Canada and began work on her first book, Chicken Every Sunday: My Life with Mother’s Boarders.  After the War, the couple returned to Tucson and continued their literary career with Rosemary Winchcombe-Taylor publishing eight novels and a number of short stories and articles. Many were based on her childhood and family.  John Winchcombe-Taylor published a historical novel, Ram, and a number of articles, short stories and plays including several based on Rosemary's books. Rosemary’s literary career, along with her husband John Winchcombe-Taylor, is documented in MS 413 Drachman-Taylor Family papers located in Special Collections.

Rosemary Drachman with American war correspondent Floyd Gibbons in Morocco covering the Riff War, 1925