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Sister Carrie
"A Strangely Strong Novel
in a Queer Milieu"
Curated by Nancy M. Shawcross
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
University of Pennsylvania

Theresa Dreiser


ca. 1890s

One of Dreiser's five sisters, Theresa was one of three sisters who had taken an apartment in Chicago, where Theodore moved in the summer of 1884. Although Dreiser loved the city and its vitality, the stay proved short-lived, once his father also relocated there. All three young women in that apartment were involved with suitors in relationships of dubious respectability. Theresa, however, ultimately married Ed Davis, a scenery painter who had once given Theodore a job in hopes of winning favor with her. In October of 1897 she was instantly killed by a train while crossing a track on her bicycle in Chicago: it was only her thirty-second year of life.
Sister Emma
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