Hill, Ruth Beebe

Born: April 26, 1913
Died: May 28, 2015

Ohio connection: Birth


Ruth Beebe Hill was born April 26, 1913, in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Western Reserve University (now Case) with a B.A. in 1935. A direct descendant of Pilgrims, Hill became fascinated with Native Americans and their culture when she was young, a fascination that so deepened in her adulthood that, in 1951, she began work on a novel about the Native American experience. After thirty years of research in public libraries and at Indian reservations, and after studying Native American music and learning the ancient Dakotah language, Hill published Hanta Yo, a “documented novel,” in 1979. The novel, whose title means “clear the way,” tells the story of a tribe of Teton Sioux Indians living between 1750 and 1834 who managed to resist the Caucasian influence sweeping across North America. The novel earned a spot on the New York Times bestseller list for nine months and won its author a Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. Hill edited manuscripts and books, wrote blurbs for major publishing houses and taught college courses in writing and Native American culture. Hill, who also tracked bears in Alaska with her son, was a member of the National Writers Council. Ruth Beebe Hill died on May 28, 2015 at her home on San Juan Island, Washington.

Golden Plate Award from American Academy of Achievement, 1979.