Author: Peggy GaddisAs a novelist her work was confined entirely to two closely related genres, virtually all of it written for lending library publishers. For thirty years she wrote traditional romances, almost entirely for one publisher, Arcadia House. For the last ten of those years she wrote principally nurse novels. She also wrote “love novels,” a somewhat sleazier form of romance that was invented by the lending library publishers. In the 1930’s she wrote them for William Godwin, Inc. and in the 1940’s for Phoenix Press. By 1951 this genre had been abandoned by the hardcover publishers and found a new home in the proliferating digest-size paperbacks. These publishers faded away by 1955, those that survived shifting to soft core porn. Most of the older authors, like Peggy Gaddis, chose not to follow this direction and fell back on writing traditional romances. In the early 1960’s Arcadia House found that there was a mass-market audience for their romances, especially the nurse novels. A flood of Gaddis’s novels were reprinted, some of them several times, under a bewildering array of titles and bylines.
Peggy Gaddis passed away on June 14, 1966. For several years her novels continued to be reprinted, but by the mid-1970’s tastes in romances had changed and her work gradually faded into obscurity. A number of her works have been reprinted in Large Print editions in recent years but this has failed to produce a revival of interest in her work at large and she has never become a “cult” author. By the time the first edition of Twentieth Century Romance...Writers was published, in 1982, she was already passé. The only biographical entry in a major reference work is the one in Contemporary Authors, from which the above summary is taken.
- by Kenneth R. Johnson