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Barbara Follett: The Disappearance of a Young Writer

Barbara was considered one of the most talented young authors of her time. Life gave her many opportunities, but the woman suddenly disappeared. Did it happen of her own will?


Barbara Newhall Follett was born on March 4, 1914, in Hanover (New Hampshire, USA). The girl's father, Roy Wilson Follett, graduated from the famous Harvard University, and by the time of the birth of his daughter was a fairly well-known literary critic, author of numerous essays and editor. Her mother, Helen Thomas Follett, was a children's writer. Needless to say that the young Barbie from early childhood was fascinated by literature and creative writing.

At 4, she learned to write and type on her father’s portable typewriter. When she turned 6, the parents presented her their typewriter.

The girl did not attend school. Parents believed that they could give her a better education at home. They strongly encouraged the literary creativity of their daughter. However, Barbara had a lack of experience with peers. She grew up a reserved child immersed in her own world. Barbara Follett's first novel, The House Without Windows, was published in 1927. At that time, the young writer was only 13 years old. Critics warmly greeted the work, and also it was sold well. The girl became known as a child prodigy.

In 1928, Barbara went on an exciting voyage in Nova Scotia. She described her impressions in the next novel, Journey of the Norman D., which was published exactly one year after the first one. The novel is regarded as the pinnacle of the creativity of Barbara Follett.

Barbara had had a drama played out at home by the time the second book was released. Her father divorced his mother and moved to live with another woman. For a teenage girl, the ugly separation of parents was a real shock. Later, her own personal life would be filled with distrust and jealousy scenes. To drown out the emotions of divorce, Helen Follett and her daughter decide to go on a long journey by sea. During the year they visited Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa, Honolulu. On the trip, Barbara continues to write. However, without the support of her father, she could not publish books. At that time, she actually wrote for the desk drawer.

Upon returning home, difficult times began. The Great Depression was gaining momentum in the US. Barbara is not up to creativity, she moves to New York and works as a secretary to make ends meet.

In 1933, life for the girl began to play with new colors. She fell in love with Nickerson Rogers and got married. In the first years of marriage, the couple travels a lot. From the side, the picture looked idyllic.

Circumstances of the disappearance

By 1937, the couple begins to quarrel endlessly. Barbara is constantly jealous of her husband and arranges unpleasant scenes. They continue to live together, but it is no longer possible to call this marriage successful. In the summer of 1939, Nickerson actually confessed to treason. Barbara fell into a severe depression. Nickerson left his wife for a while but then returned again.

At the end of December 1939, Nickerson Rogers came to the police to file a statement about the disappearance of his wife. According to Rogers, Barbara left home after another quarrel on December 7. She only took her notebook and $30. Neither did she visit her family and friends, nor did she call or write anyone.

The searches (or the lack thereof)

However, Nickerson assured the police that his spouse probably wanted to stay alone and just relax. Nobody conducted active searches.

Helen, Barbara's mother, demanded several times that the police take up the case more seriously. She believed that Nickerson was to blame for the disappearance of her daughter. The woman wrote to her son-in-law: "All of this silence on your part looks as if you had something to hide concerning Barbara's disappearance ... You cannot believe that I shall sit idle during my last few years and not make whatever effort I can to find out whether Bar is alive or dead, whether, perhaps, she is in some institution suffering from amnesia or nervous breakdown." The last time Helen went to the police for the demand to continue the search in 1952.

Only in 1966, the story of the Barbara Follett became public. It was then when the publications about the disappearance of the talented author of "The House without windows" and "The Voyage of the Norman D." appeared in several journals. The fate of Barbara Follett remains unknown to this day.