Life up to now
A career newspaper woman, Ruth Bass published her first novel,
“Sarah’s Daughter,” in 2007 at the age of 72. Her second, "Rose,"
was published August 1, 2010, a sequel to "Sarah's Daughter."
She was born July 18, 1934 in Amherst, Massachusetts,
and grew up in various New England communities.
A graduate of Westfield (MA) High School and Bates
College, she earned a master of science degree in
journalism from Columbia University where she also
received the Tennessee Williams Award for creative journalism.
She has been a police reporter, newspaper feature
magazine editor and Sunday editor for The Berkshire
Eagle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She still writes a
weekly column for The Eagle and one year was
named by United Press International as the best
columnist in New England. She is also a
free-lance travel writer, past president of the Bates
College Alumni Assocation, a member of the Society
of American Travel Writers, author of ten published
cookbooks and has worked as an editor at Storey
Publishing Co. in Williamstown, Massachusetts,
and The Independent, formerly a twice weekly
newspaper in Hillsdale, New York. She has won
many prizes for writing and editing and a few
years ago was inducted into the New England
Newspaper Association’s Hall of Fame for her
contributions to community journalism.
On May 16, 2009, she was awarded an honorary
Doctorate of Humane Letters by Westfield
(MA)State College for achievements in journalism
and the community.
Her first journalism experience came in sixth
grade when she created a school newspaper.
At Bates, she was editor of the student newspaper
and later served as president of the Bates Alumni
Association. She has served as a selectman in her
town, a commercial bank director, a member of
the town finance and health board, and is a past
president of the Community Health Association
of Richmond and West Stockbridge and chair
of the Anita Chapman Scholarship Commitee.
She is vice president of the Richmond Land Trust.
She was named Woman of the Year by the
Professional and Business Women’s Association
of Pittsfield and is a recipient of the Charles and
Mary Kusik Citizenship Award in her town.
Her first novel is based on a tiny kernel of
knowledge about how her grandmother,
at the age of 14, faced bringing up two siblings,
running a household, coping with her increasingly
alcoholic father. “I was a Girl Scout leader
for years and became aware that my scouts
faced many of the same problems that
confronted my grandmother in the 1880’s
and decided a book might be in there somewhere.”
Since her grandmother did not talk about her
experiences as a teenager, the book is almost
entirely fictional, although its historical
aspect – especially the daily life in a rural
community – was carefully researched.
The second book continues heroine Rose's story
and has little relation to the grandmother's life.
Ruth is married to novelist and newspaper
columnist Milton Bass, and the couple has
three adult children and six grandchildren.
In addition to writing, she finds time for
gardening, knitting,reading, golf, tennis,
photography and cooking.
In 2010, she at long last finished
"The Allens,a farm family in the
twentieth century," a story of how her mother,
Hilda, and Hilda's ten siblings grew up
in central Massachusetts. The 70 or so pages
include photos from cousin Marcia Allen's
collection, as well as family albums,
and came out of a number of tapes made
by the siblings, plus odds and ends
of family letters, etc.
She is now working on a new novel, the third
and last in the series about Rose Hibbard, a
19th century character inspired by the
author's grandmother's teen-age years
but almost entirely "fictionalized."