Ann Petry was born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut on October 12, 1908. She received a degree in pharmacy from the University of Connecticut in 1931. After working in the family business for three years, she wrote for the Amsterdam News and later for other publications. From 1944 to 1946, she studied creative writing at Columbia University. Her first novel, The Street, was published in 1946 and became the first novel by an African American to sell more than a million copies. Her other works include Country Place, The Narrows, The Drugstore Cat, Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad, and Tituba of Salem Village. She died on April 28, 1997 at the age of 88.