Ruth Bryan Owen

Lane, Christina

Ruth Bryan Owen was an orator, a US Democratic congresswoman (1929–1933), and a minister to Denmark and Iceland from 1933 to 1936. She was the daughter of the “Great Commoner” William Jennings Bryan, a three-time Democratic presidential nominee who retired to Florida in the late 1910s. She was married three times, first to Chicago artist William Homer Leavitt, in 1903, then to retired major Reginald Altham Owen, and lastly to the Danish captain Borge Rohde in 1936 (Vickers 59). Between 1919 and 1922, however, she devoted almost all of her energies to filmmaking in Miami, Florida, declaring in a letter dated July 22, 1921, to her friend Carrie Dunlap that she loved nothing as she loved the cinema, and she had finally found her true “métier.” She independently financed, produced, wrote, and directed the feature film Once Upon a Time/Scheherazade (1922), which is now considered lost.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019