Grace Goulder Izant was a writer and journalist, perhaps best known for her weekly long-running column in the Plain Dealer Magazine. Grace was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 27, 1893. From an early age, she loved history, especially of Ohio, a topic she would return to almost 25 years later as a writer.
After graduating from East High School, Grace attended Vassar College, graduating in 1914.
Shortly after graduating, Grace became the first female journalist at the Cleveland Plain Dealer working as the society editor and women’s feature writer of the newspaper. It was there that she met her future husband Robert J. Izant, who was the movie editor.
When the United States entered World War I, Grace, like many Americans, felt the need to do something. In February 1918, she found employment as Director of Newspaper Publicity for the War Work Council of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) in New York. While there, Grace established rest centers for soldiers and sailors on leave in New York and Europe.
Robert was shipped out for duty in France in 1917. Grace volunteered for overseas service at the YWCA in France. Grace arrived in France in December 1918 and began work in Paris helping organize YWCA centers for women. She also helped raise support and awareness for many of the young women working for the YWCA, YMCA and Red Cross by writing articles that were published in the United States. While in Europe, Grace also spent time touring France taking photographs and making notes on the history of the region.
Robert was discharged from the Army in February 1919 and Grace returned to the United States onboard the U.S. Transport Plattsburg in May 1919. The coupled married on October 18, 1919.
In 1924, the young family, including their two sons Robert and Jon Izant and daughter Mary Izant White, moved to Hudson, Ohio. Robert worked as Vice President of the Central National Bank in Cleveland.
When Grace began her career as a freelance writer for the Plain Dealer, one of her first articles was about Hudson’s incorporation as a village. In 1940, she published her first column in the series “Ohio Songs and Citizens.” This weekly column featured an interesting person or unusual place from around Ohio. The column ran weekly in the Sunday Magazine until 1969.
Grace published her first book This is Ohio in 1953. The book further expanded on her weekly column and told stories about all 88 Ohio counties. Grace retired from writing her column in 1969, but continued to publish several books. In 1972, she wrote John D. Rockefeller: The Cleveland Years, documenting the oil tycoon’s early life in Cleveland.
Grace died on November 17, 1984, just after completing her final book Hudson’s Heritage. The book was published a year later and is considered by many to be the finest work on the subject of the founding and history of Hudson.
The Hudson Library & Historical Society houses some of the papers of Grace Goulder Izant, which contains much of her research material for her books and columns on Ohio history. The collection also includes letters and photographs of her time spent in Europe during World War I.
Grace Goulder Izant papers
Available at the Hudson Library & Historical Society
Izant, Grace Goulder. 2001. Hudson’s heritage: a chronicle of the founding and the flowering of the village of Hudson, Ohio. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press.