Ann Lane Petry (1908-1997)
First African American woman to sell one million copies of a novel, The Street (Inducted 1994)
Best-selling novelist Ann Lane Petry was born at this site where her family lived and her father, Peter Clark Lane, operated a pharmacy. She too worked at the pharmacy after graduating from the Connecticut College of Pharmacy. She married George Petry in 1938 and moved to New York City. She began writing short stories and worked for the Harlem Amsterdam News and later, the People's Voice in Harlem. Her first published story appeared in 1943 in The Crises, the official publication of the NAACP. Three years later, her first novel The Street received the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. She and her husband returned to live in Old Saybrook. Petry published seven more books, including two additional novels, The Country Place (1947) and The Narrows (1953). Her works also included Miss Muriel and Other Stories and a children's biography of Harriet Tubman. The pharmacy continues as James Pharmacy and Soda Fountain and is still located at 2 Pennywise Lane in Old Saybrook.
The Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame Historic Site Survey project was funded through generous grants from: