The Little Locksmith was published in 1943, several months after the death of its author, Katharine Butler Hathaway(1890-1942), who was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis right here in Salem in 1895, when she was five years old. For the next ten years, she was confined to her bedroom and strapped to a board in the hope that her back would straighten. She emerged at age 15, a hunch-back.
Written as a memoir, the Little Locksmith charts Katharine's "struggle to transcend physical limitations and embrace her life, her body, and herself in the midst of debilitating bouts of frustration and shame. Her spirit and courage prevail, and she succeeds in expanding her world far beyond the boundaries prescribed by her family and society." according to Feminist Press, who reissued the book in 2000. She attended Radcliffe College.
As an adult, she started to write, and bought a house in Maine in 1921. She lived later in both New York City and Paris, where she was a part of the vibrant artists' culture of the 1920s. In the early 1930s she returned to Maine with her husband. The Little Locksmith was published a year after her death.
The Little Locksmith Streets of Salem blog
Little Locksmith: a memoir pub. yr. 2000.