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Jere Knight was an editor, writer, and poet, as well as a fencing champion named to the 1930 Olympic team. She chose to abandon her Olympic dream when she married author Eric Knight. During their marriage, she worked as a freelance translator and bred collies. One of their dogs was the inspiration for her husband's well-known book, Lassie, Come Home, on which Jere collaborated. As a story editor with Selznick Pictures, she was one of the editors who saw the potential of Gone with the Wind as a movie. During World War II, Jere wrote articles for the Saturday Evening Post on the British Women's Services and was a consultant on the U.S. Woman's Military Service. She rose to the rank of Major and won several citations, including the Bronze Star. After the war, a ten year collaboration with Lehigh University professor H.L. Gipson led to a Pulitzer Prize for volume 10 of the 15-volume The British Empire Before the American Revolution. This was followed by award-winning articles for the Bethlehem Globe Times and, more recently, writing poetry. The Uphill View, a collection of her poems, was published when Knight was in her 80s. Throughout her own busy career, she continued to promote the work of her late husband, Eric Knight.
Henriette Wyeth, Portrait of Jere Knight. Image courtesy of Jeff Lindtner.
Education and Training
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1924-1928, M.A., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1928-1929
University of Sorbonne, Paris, France
McGill University, Canada, two diplomas in French Studies
Graduate studies at Lehigh University, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1950s
Connection to Bucks County
Jere Knight and her husband, Eric Knight, author of Lassie, Come Home, moved to Pleasant Valley in Upper Bucks County in 1939. After Eric's death in 1943, Jere remained in their 18th century farmhouse until 1989, when she moved to Newtown in Lower Bucks County.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Jere's husband, Eric Knight, author of Lassie, Come Home, was a journalist for the Philadelphia Public Ledger, and a noted film critic for other publications during the 1920s and 1930s. Jere Knight was a close friend of Marion and E.E. Cummings. The Knights knew screen writer Budd Schulberg from their time in Hollywood.
Jere Knight wrote articles and lectured at various local schools on her husband's work. She volunteered for Springfield Township and received an award honoring her contributions to the community's quality of life.
She served on the Historic Review Board of the Bucks County Conservancy, Board of Bucks County Mental Health Society, and Board of United Friends School in Quakertown.
Photograph of Eric Knight with his dog Toots. Image courtesy of Geoff Gehman.
The British Empire Before The American Revolution, 15 volumes, created in collaboration, editorial associate with L.H. Gipson, Lehigh University, 1957-1967
Novels and Short Stories
Lassie series with husband Eric Knight during the 1940s
The Uphill View, 1990s
Seeing the Light: Poems of Jere Knight, compiled by Jeff Lindtner, Quakertown, Pennsylvania, Christmas 1996
Story editor with Selznick International Pictures, including Gone With The Wind, 1930s
Freelance Writer for:
Saturday Evening Post, 1941-1942
United States Infantry Journal, during World War II (first woman to be published in journal)
Special feature writer, Bethlehem Global Times, 1960s
Economic History of the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem Global Times, 1968 Bicentennial History of Northhampton County, vol. 1, 1976
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Officer in United States Woman's Army Corps, Washington and the European theatre of operations during World War II, obtained rank of Major in Military Intelligence Research
Teacher of English, History, Social Studies at Moravian Preparatory School, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1955-1957
Lehigh University, co-author with L.H. Gipson, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1957-1967
Nominated to Olympic Fencing Team, 1930
Bronze Star, Woman's Army Corps, 1940s
Best Feature Article, Newspaper Editors and Publishers of Pennsylvania Prize, Economic History of the Lehigh Valley, 1968
Award for service to the community, Springfield Township, 1994
Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Lehigh University, 1995
Life is a sweet-fleshed fruit
With a bitter rind
Love is flower and seed
Life is a grey tweed coat
With red silk lining
Love is color and warmth
Life is a symphony of assonance
Love is the music and player
Life is a one-way ride in space
With speed and movement
Love is direction
Life is a book, writing and written
and sometimes the words and meaning
Love is the reading
Life is a man and a woman
Love is the child
This whole wide stretch of pasture
bulges with cups of butter,
yellow, bouncy, sassy and erect
on tall stiff, leafy stems--buttercups.
They claim the land like territorial
imperatives of bird or animal.
Three horses graze the field,
heads down, necks bent in
arches of equine feeding.
They crop so close to pasture
grass looks barely able to survive.
Not so, buttercups keep right
on growing, neither crunched
nor crushed by hoof or muzzle,
splashing the field in sunlit
squares of tempting yellow.
But horses don't eat buttercups,
they leave them for Van Gogh to paint.
Portrait of Jere Knight
Portrait of Jere Knight
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