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Heartbreak Knows No Color

Copper Romance magazine

Copper Romance magazine

Last season, the PBS program History Detectives investigated the origins of a 1950s comic book called Negro Romance, unusual for its depiction of African Americans in the principal roles.  Excerpts from a similarly unique publication can be found in the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library.

Copper Romance was a monthly magazine filled with short stories and novellas about African American characters navigating the stormy seas of love.  Like their white counterparts in Intimate Romances, True Story and Romance Confessions, the women in Copper Romance offered up their romantic anguish, sexual transgressions and relationship problems in such tales as “Desperate to Marry,” “Too Old For Love,” or “I Gave My Baby Away.”  Even more intriguing, however, is the fact that the author of some of these stories (including the three just mentioned) was the wife of a Russellville, Kentucky bank executive who typed out her pulp fiction on a pink portable typewriter at her rural Logan County home.

Anne Ridings Trimble (1909-1971) began writing for magazines in 1946.  A prolific author, she declared that she submitted about 50 stories a year to the romance magazine market and enjoyed an acceptance rate of about 33%.  A member of the Nashville Press and Authors Club, Trimble freely shared her productivity secrets at workshops and seminars.  Her provocatively titled stories–“His Horrible Secret,” “My Love Was a Killer,” and “I Was Trapped in a Snake Cult,” to name a few–were typical of the genre, but her “copper romances” added a distinctive element to her portfolio.

A finding aid for the Anne Ridings Trimble Collection can be downloaded here.  On this Valentine’s Day, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat for more collections relating to African Americans, romance, courtship and authors.

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