Costume Inspiration: Edna Ferber

Ferber & James Dean on the set of  Giant

Ferber & James Dean on the set of Giant


I don’t think there is anyone more famous than Edna Ferber from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Although Ferber spent most of her early life moving around a lot, from Iowa, Wisconsin to Illinois. Ferber was never formally educated, she graduated high school but only attended Lawrence University for 2 semesters. Ferber did have the writing bug, after publishing her second now she would arrive in New York City in her late 20’s. She became fast friends with several circles of friends. From Katherine Hepburn to great playwright Moss Hart. 

Feber began at an early age and her writing career took off after she arrived in New York City. Most people think her career really didn’t flourish until she started writing with a new friend by the name of George Kauffman. The duo wrote such great novels as The Royal Family, Dinner at Eight and Stage Door. While all of the works would move from the Broadway Stage and onto the Big Screen. Her own independent body of work greatly out weighed those 3 giant houses. Some of those great independent masterpieces include, Show Boat, Cimarron, So Big and my personal favorite Giant

In New York Ferber floated around many circles of friends. One of the legendary circles she frequented was Dorothy Parkers’s Algonquin Round Table. Ferber was introduced to the silver tongued crowd by her working partner George Kaufman. Ferber and Parker had a prickly relationship, both were strong willed about their work and very protective. One could easily state that out of the vast amount of talent that lived within the Algonquin Circle, Ferber and Parker are still the most valid today, 90 years later. It also helped the two were extremely accepting of their works move from the stage to the big screen. 

When it comes to Edna Ferber’s social life, there really is not enough there to fill a whole chapter in a book. Yes she had an amazing list of friends, most of them very close with Ferber for most of their lives. But when it came to love, Edna lacked the drive that her stories embodied. Some people have chopped it up to the fact that Ferber was a lesbian but historically she didn’t exhibit any homosexual relationships or behaviors. Ferber always joked in interviews and in her two autobiographies that she was simply just a spinster by nature. Regardless of her sexual preference or lack there of, Ferber wealth of knowledge and stories was remarkable. 

To this day, Giant is most certainly one of my all-time favorite books and movie.