Thursday, April 16, 2015

Duane Valentry

Duane Valentry was a name I stumbled across only recently as I was compiling a list of nature stories from the pages of Look and Learn (well, someone's got to do it!). A Google search revealed that Duane Valentry was a prolific writer across at least four decades.

Duane was a Miss Duane Valentry, described in one piece (Hellfire Herald, 20 February 1945) as "late of the Red Cross Club, 'Rajah Dodger Lodge'," which noted that she was "no longer at APO 220. As part of the original four Red Cross girls to come to this Field, Miss Valentry brought her talents as a singer and songwriter to effective use in impromptu entertainments. The men of APO 220 wish Miss Valentry success wherever she may be stationed in the future." APO 220 was the code name for Piardoba Airfield in West Bengal, India.

I haven't discovered much about Velentry's career as a writer. There are a number of songs credited ("No Matter Where I Go" (1945), "Sin City", "Sing Me a Gospel Song Once More", "Lord Take Care of My Friend", "But Where Are the Nine") and her byline appeared in Motoboating (fl.1952), Nature Magazine (fl.1952), Story Parade (fl.1953), The American Mercury (fl.1954-60), Flying (fl.1958), Western Horseman (fl.1960-63), Frontiers (fl.1966), Golden Nugget (fl.1966), Relics (fl.1969-70), Movieland and TV Times (fl.1972-75), Boating (fl.1973) and Harlequin (fl.1976).

Duane Valentry was born in Philadelphia, PA, on 25 June 1909 and lived in New York City shortly after the Second World War and Ventura County, California from at least the 1950s on, although her last residence noted at the time of her death on 10 January 2000 was given as Pasadena, Los Angeles.

Although Duane Valentry is listed in the social security death index under that name, a copyright entry for a 1945 song reveals that Duane Valentry was a pen-name for H. M. Yarnall. I haven't been able to nail down any further information and whether Yarnall was her birth name and I'm struggling to find her in any early 20th century census records under either Yarnall or Valentry.

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