Fanny Ellsworth

Fanny Louise Ellsworth Davis (October 10, 1904 – 1984), known professionally as Fanny Ellsworth, was an American magazine editor, best known as the editor of pulp magazines including Ranch Romances (for western romances) and Black Mask (for noir detective thrillers). Late in life, she became a Turkish studies scholar, interested in the status of women in the Ottoman Empire.

Fanny Ellsworth
A young white woman with short curled hair
Fanny Ellsworth, from a 1926 yearbook
BornOctober 10, 1904
New York
Other namesFanny Davis (after 1934)
OccupationMagazine editor, Turkish studies scholar

Early life and educationEdit

Fanny Louise Ellsworth was born in New York City, the daughter of Jesse F. Ellsworth and Martha Kelly Ellsworth. Her father was a banker.[1][2] She graduated from Barnard College in 1926.[3] Later in life, Fanny Ellsworth Davis completed doctoral studies at Columbia University, with a dissertation titled "Two Centuries of the Ottoman Lady" (1968).[4]


Pulp fictionEdit

Ellsworth was the editor of Ranch Romances, from the 1920s into the 1950s.[5][6][7] She bought over 30 western stories from Elmer Kelton for Ranch Romances;[8][9] other noted authors she published included Lela Cole Kitson,[10] Walt Coburn and Max Brand.[11] She also worked with western genre artist Harold Dowd Bugbee.[12]

As "F. Ellsworth",[13] she succeeded Joseph Shaw as editor of Black Mask, a magazine for detective fiction,[14] from 1936 to 1940, promoting noir genre authors including Steve Fisher, Frank Gruber, and Cornell Woolrich.[15][16] She was managing editor and briefly executive editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories from 1952 to 1953. Other magazines she worked at as an editor included Big Story Magazine, Rangeland Love Story Magazine, Thrilling Ranch Stories, Western Love Stories, Western Rodeo Romances, Space Stories, Startling Stories, and Fantastic Story Magazine.[17][18] In the late 1950s, she was advertising manager for the Barnard Alumnae Magazine.[19]

Ellsworth is best known as an editor, but she also wrote several pulp stories, including "Winter Night" (Street & Smith's Love Story Magazine 1941), and "A Toast to All of Us" (Ranch Romances 1949).[17]

Turkish studiesEdit

Fanny Ellsworth Davis became interested in Turkish history while writing a children's book, Getting to Know Turkey (1957).[19][20] She published books based on her doctoral work, The Palace of Topkapi in Istanbul (1970),[21] The Clocks and watches of the Topkapı Palace Museum (1984),[22] and The Ottoman Lady: A social history from 1718 to 1918 (published posthumously in 1986).[23]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1934,[10] Fanny Ellsworth married fellow magazine editor John Earle "Jack" Davis.[5][24]


  1. ^ "J. F. Ellsworth, Ex-Banker, Dies". Fort Lauderdale News. 1951-09-21. p. 1. Retrieved 2021-03-20 – via
  2. ^ "JESSE F. ELLSWORTH". The New York Times. 1951-09-23. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  3. ^ "Round Tables Scheduled For Next Wednesday". Barnard Bulletin. February 11, 1938. p. 1. Retrieved March 19, 2021 – via
  4. ^ Abadan-Unat; Kandiyoti; Kiray (2020-11-23). Women in Turkish Society. BRILL. p. 283. ISBN 978-90-04-43362-5.
  5. ^ a b Grether, Grace (1949-04-01). "One Editorial Chair is Enough". The Salt Lake Tribune. p. 28. Retrieved 2021-03-19 – via
  6. ^ "Magazine Editor Guest in Azusa". Monrovia News-Post. 1949-04-08. p. 2. Retrieved 2021-03-20 – via
  7. ^ Ellsworth, Fanny (1941-03-30). "Woman Editor Reveals How to Write Stories That Publishers Buy". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. p. 26. Retrieved 2021-03-20 – via
  8. ^ McDaniel, Matthew (August 24, 2019). "Elmer Kelton's legacy as a writer, mentor endures in San Angelo". San Angelo Standard-Times. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  9. ^ Alter, Judy; Lee, James Ward (2011-03-01). Elmer Kelton: Essays and Memories. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-0-87565-449-2.
  10. ^ a b "About Town". El Paso Herald-Post. 1934-11-19. p. 6. Retrieved 2021-03-19 – via
  11. ^ Boardman, Mark (November 2006). "Ranch Romances". True West Magazine. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  12. ^ Wood, Jennifer (2000-11-04). "Pulp Fiction Art Rides Again in Show of Magazine Covers". Arizona Republic. p. 185. Retrieved 2021-03-20 – via
  13. ^ Black Mask. November 1938. pp. 2 (masthead) – via Internet Archive.
  14. ^ Brooker, Peter; Thacker, Andrew (2009). The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume II: North America 1894-1960. OUP Oxford. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-19-954581-0.
  15. ^ Deutsch, Keith Alan (2017-09-10). "Steve Fisher, Black Mask, and the Noir Revolution". Black Mask. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  16. ^ Smith, Erin (2010-07-07). Hard-Boiled. Temple University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-59213-911-8.
  17. ^ a b "Stories, Listed by Author". The Fiction Mags Index. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  18. ^ Davin, Eric Leif (2006). Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965. Lexington Books. p. 345. ISBN 978-0-7391-1267-0.
  19. ^ a b Davis, Fanny Ellsworth (February 1958). "Turkey in Transition". Barnard Alumnae Magazine. 47: masthead, 10–12, 32 – via Internet Archive.
  20. ^ Davis, Fanny (1957). Getting to know Turkey. New York: Coward-McCann. OCLC 397169.
  21. ^ Barnard College, Alumnae Bibliography (Spring 2011): 30.
  22. ^ Davis, Fanny (1984). The Clocks and watches of the Topkapı Palace Museum. Cambridge: Harvard University. OCLC 1030113457.
  23. ^ Davis, Fanny; Gurun, Sema; Esch, Mary E.; Leer, Bruce Van (1986). The Ottoman Lady: A Social History from 1718 to 1918. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-24811-5.
  24. ^ Jones, Robert Kenneth (2007-09-01). The Shudder Pulps: A History of the Weird Menace Magazines of the 1930's. Wildside Press LLC. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-4344-8624-0.