Nancy Wilson Ross

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Nancy Wilson Ross was a writer and author. She "was born in Olympia, Washington, on November 22, 1901. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1924, and married Charles W. Ross of Auburn, New York, three years later. They studied at the Bauhaus in Germany 1931-33, then returned to live in New York City for four years. From 1938 to 1942 they lived on Hood Canal in Washington State. Her second marriage was to publisher and playwright Stanley Young in 1942. They made their home on the Whitney estate 'Applegreen,' Old Westbury, Long Island.

"As Nancy Wilson, her first published novel was Friday to Monday (1932). Her first magazine story had appeared in 1924. She published five novels of contemporary life and culture under the name of Nancy Wilson Ross, illustrating the experience, the developing self-knowledge, and the spiritual growth of her characters. The novels include Take the Lightning (1940), The Left Hand Is the Dreamer (1947), I, My Ancestor (1950), Time's Corner (1952), and The Return of Lady Brace (1957). Culminating years of interest in Asian religion and art, her last three books introduced Buddhism to Western readers: The World of Zen: an East-West Anthology (1960), Three Ways of Asian Wisdom (1966), and Buddhism, a Way of Life and Thought (1980). In addition, she wrote about the Pacific Northwest in The Farthest Reach (1941) and about the pioneer settlers of that region in Westward the Women (1944). Joan of Arc (1952), Thor's Visit to the Land of Giants (1959), and Heroines of the Early West (1960) are the books she wrote for juvenile readers. Throughout her career Ross had many articles and reviews published in such magazines as Harper's Bazaar, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review.

"Ross served on the board of the Asia Society from its founding by John D. Rockefeller III in 1956 until 1985. She was an inspiring and life-long friend to many: faculty at the University of Oregon from the 1920s; a circle of artists, dancers, and actors associated with Dartington Hall in Devon and the Cornish School in Seattle from the 1930s; and an intellectual set in New York City that included Mary and Paul Mellon from the 1930s and 40s. Through her husband Stanley Young's career associates and her own literary successes, Ross engendered friendships with a number of New York editors, publishers, and theatre people.

"Ross and her husband Stanley Young sold their personal and literary papers to the University of Texas in 1972. The sale was enabled by a matching grant for purchase and cataloging from the Avon (later Jerome) Foundation.

"After her husband's death in 1975, Ross was increasingly involved with Buddhism. During the last ten years of her life a member of the San Francisco Zen Center shared her house and helped organize her papers. Ross died Jan. 18, 1986, in Vero Beach, Florida. "[1]

Lindisfarne Association

"At the instigation of Gene Fairly, Lindisfarne was established in New York, rather than Toronto, and Emily Sellon, the editor of New York's Main Currents in Modern Thought, served with Thompson and Fairly as the founding Board of Directors of the Lindisfarne Association. Through the efforts of Nancy Wilson Ross, author of Three Ways of Asian Wisdom and a former student of the Bauhaus in Germany, Thompson's writings and lectures were brought to the attention of Laurance S. Rockefeller and Sydney and Jean Lanier, and they assisted in the establishment of a facility on Long Island in 1973. With the encouragement of Nancy Wilson Ross and Dean James P. Morton, Lindisfarne began its activities in a working relationship with the Zen Center in San Francisco and the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and this helped Lindisfarne's work to be ecumenical and national from the start." [2]

Sourcewatch resources


  1. An Inventory of Her Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, accessed November 17, 2011.
  2. williamirwinthompson History, organizational web page, accessed April 20, 2012.