Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Joan Naper  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1949 in Chicago, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Joan is a fifth generation Chicagoan, born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She attended St. Gertrude's Parish School in Chicago and Marywood Academy in Evanston. Joan went to college in Washington, D. C. , but returned to Chicago when she graduated.

Biographical and Professional Information

Joan Naper grew up in Chicago, the middle child of seven, the middle daughter of five. She attended St. Gertrude’s grammar school with her six siblings; Marywood Academy with her four sisters; and Trinity College in Washington, DC, with just one sister. Earned graduate degrees from the University of Chicago (English, 1974) and Northwestern University (Advertising, 1988).After years working as a speechwriter and editor, she works today as the research communications director at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Her book, Beautiful Dreamer, is a historical novel set in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. It is based on the stories of her grandfather, who was an architect with D. H. Burnham and Co., and her grandmother.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Beautiful Dreamer
ISBN: 0984067647

Allium Press. 2010

Chicago in 1900 is bursting with opportunity, and Kitty Coakley is determined to make the most of it. The youngest of seven children born to Irish immigrants, she has little interest in becoming simply a housewife. Inspired by her entrepreneurial Aunt Mabel, who runs a millinery boutique at Marshall Field's, Kitty aspires to become an independent, modern woman. After her music teacher dashes her hopes of becoming a professional singer, she refuses to give up her dreams of a career. But when she is courted by not one, but two young men, her resolve is tested. Irish-Catholic Brian is familiar and has the approval of her traditional, working-class family. But wealthy, Protestant Henry, who is a young architect in Daniel Burnham's office, provides an entrée for Kitty into another, more exciting world. Will she sacrifice her ambitions and choose a life with one of these men? Beautiful Dreamer is a heartwarming coming-of-age story rich with historical details that bring turn-of-the-century Chicago to life.