Discipline: Literature

Nancy Ross

Nancy Wilson Ross (November 22, 1901 – January 18, 1986)

Nancy Ross was a novelist and an authority on Eastern religions. From the early 1930's until the late 1950's, Ross wrote some 15 works of fiction, including Take the Lightning, I, My Ancestor, and The Left Hand Is the Dreamer. Reviewing that book in The New York Times in 1947, Orville Prescott described it as ''tense with the fears and pressures of civilization's agony.''

Ross was born in Olympia, Wash., and graduated from the University of Oregon. In 1939 she traveled to China, Korea and Japan, a trip that she later said influenced her greatly. That interest eventually manifested itself in her writing. While her 1957 novel The Return of Lady Brace concerns a woman who, upon the death of her British husband, returns after years of absence to help dismantle the Long Island house in which she was born, reviewers noted that the book's values were as much of the East as the West. She subsequently wrote Three Ways of Asian Wisdom, which presented the history, tenets and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen; The World of Zen and Buddhism: A Way of Life and Thought. She also wrote an introduction to The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, a novel about a Buddhist priest by Yukio Mishima.

In 1942, Miss Ross married Stanley P. Young, a playwright and partner in the publishing house of Farrar, Straus and Young.



Nancy Ross worked in the Schelling studio.

Marian MacDowell funded construction of this studio the year that the organization was established and the first artists arrived for residency. It was called Bark Studio until 1933, when it was renamed in honor of Ernest Schelling, a composer, pianist, and orchestral leader who served as president of what was then called the Edward MacDowell…

Learn more