Janice Holt Giles

Historical Marker #1813 in Adair County notes the location of the home of novelist Janice H. Giles.

Giles was born in 1905 in Altus, Arkansas. Her parents, John and Lucy Holt, were teachers on Native American reservations in Arkansas and Oklahoma. She likely received her love of learning and talent for writing from her mother and father. Janice attended both the University of Arkansas and Transylvania University, and, after a sixteen-year marriage that ended in divorce, she moved to Kentucky.

In 1943, Janice met soldier Henry Giles on a bus trip to visit family in Texas. The couple married in 1945, and, four years later, moved to a rural farm near Knifley, Henry’s hometown, in Adair County. Her Kentucky surroundings must have prompted her inner creativity, because she published her first novel, "The Enduring Hills" in 1950. She then became a prolific novelist, publishing over twenty books. Most of Giles’s novels are historical fiction set during Kentucky’s early history or in the frontier days of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The "Piney Ridge Trilogy," consisting of "The Enduring Hills," "Miss Willie" (1951), and "Tara’s Healing" (1952), are among her best known.

Giles died in 1979 and was buried in the Caldwell Chapel Cemetery, in her adopted Adair County. Her home there has been meticulously restored and the annual Janet Holt Giles and Henry Giles Festival is held each October in her honor.

Images

Janice Holt Giles Home

Janice Holt Giles Home

Located in Adair County, the Janice Holt Giles House, shown here, has recently been restored. Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

Janice Holt Giles House

Janice Holt Giles House

This home in rural Adair County, Kentucky, provided Janice Holt Giles with an inspriatonal place to write her novels. Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

Janice Holt Giles House

Janice Holt Giles House

This photograph shows the front elevation of the house before it was restored. Courtesy of the National Park Service. View File Details Page

Enduring Hills

Enduring Hills

Janice Holt Giles's first novel, "The Enduring Hills," was published in 1950. Image in the public domain. View File Details Page

Janice Holt Giles Society

Janice Holt Giles Society

This image shows a poster produced by the Janice Holt Giles Socitey for the restoration of the home of the novelist in Adair County. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Old Morrison Hall

Old Morrison Hall

Janice Holt Giles attended Transylvania University. Old Morrison Hall at Transylvania is show in this early-20th century postcard. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Tim Talbott, “Janice Holt Giles,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed March 29, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/218.

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