In 1929, at age sixteen, Wilma Shore went to Paris to study painting. Leo Stein, Gertrude Stein’s brother, declared her a leading talent of her generation. Years later, this prediction came true, but in another artistic area: Shore became a writer.
Wilma Shore was born in New York City on October 12, 1913, to William J. Shore, an engineer, and Viola Brothers Shore, a fiction and screen writer. Raised in an assimilated Jewish home, she was educated at the Walden School in New York and in high schools in California, and attended the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles.
In 1932, Shore married Charles Hancock, an unemployed actor, had a daughter, Hilary, and abandoned her painting career. Following the dissolution of her marriage, she returned to New York City and married writer Lou Solomon in 1935. They moved to California in 1940, and in 1942, her daughter Dinah was born.
As talented a writer as she was a painter, Shore’s second story The Butcher was included in The Best Short Stories of 1941, and she continued to receive their honor call mention in subsequent years. Shore published widely in magazines, including The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, Story Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, The Writer, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Antioch Review, McCalls and The Nation. In 1950, her story “The Cow on the Roof” was included in the O. Henry Awards Prize Stories and in 1965, Women Should Be Allowed, a collection of short stories, was published. Shore also wrote for television, was commissioned to write a song for Carol Channing, and was included in the anthology Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1965 and 1973. She also published autobiographical pieces in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and the Women’s Studies Quarterly.
A dedicated teacher, Shore taught at the League of American Writer’s School from 1942 to 1944 and at the People’s Education Center until its dissolution. She then taught from her home.
Shore’s involvement with these schools, her work on the editorial board of the California Quarterly, a politically progressive publication, and other left-wing political activity caused her and her husband to be blacklisted during the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings.
They returned to New York in 1954. Wilma Shore is currently at work on her memoirs.
“The Butcher.” In The Best Short Stories of 1941, edited by Edward J. O’Brien (1941); “The Cow on the Roof.” In O. Henry Awards Prize Stories (1950); Women Should Be Allowed (1965).
Contemporary Authors. Vol. 16 (1975); Vaughn, Robert. Only Victims (1972).
An obituary announcing Wilma Shore's death appeared in the New York Times on May 12, 2006.
How to cite this page
O'Sullivan, Beth. "Wilma Shore." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/shore-wilma>.