Myrtle Reed (September 27, 1874 – August 17, 1911) was an American author, poet, journalist, and philanthropist, the daughter of author Elizabeth Armstrong Reed and the preacher Hiram von Reed. She wrote a number of bestsellers and even published a series of cookbooks under the pseudonym Olive Green.
She was born on September 27, 1874, in Norwood Park, Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of her parents' three children and their only daughter. She graduated from the West Division High School, Chicago, where she edited the school's newspaper called The Voice, during which time corresponded with James Sydney McCullogh, a young Irish-Canadian who was editing a college newspaper in Toronto.
She married McCullough in 1906, after a courtship of nearly 15 years. She was a diagnosed insomniac with prescribed sleeping drafts. She died on August 17, 1911, aged 36, of an overdose of sleeping powder taken with suicidal intent in her flat, called "Paradise Flat" at 5120 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Her suicide letter, written to her maid, Annie Larsen, was published the following day. Her will directed her estate be divided among eight charities that for several years had been favorites of their benefactor; however, her estate was subjected to at least two different lawsuits. Paradise Flat, the residence in which she died, was burgled during her funeral; among the stolen items were several de luxe or signed, slipcased, limited-edition novels written by the decedent. A famous epigram of Myrtle Reed, taken from Threads of Gray and Gold, declares: "The only way to test a man is to marry him. If you live, it's a mushroom. If you die, it's a toadstool."..
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