Ruth Dallas Biography

Ruth Minnie Mumford (29 September 1919 – 18 March 2008), better known by her pen name Ruth Dallas, was a New Zealand poet and children's author.

Dallas was born in Invercargill, the daughter of Frank and Minnie Mumford. She became blind in one eye at 15, then spent three years at the Southland Technical College and was engaged at 19. But her fiance broke off the engagement to serve in Great Britain during World War II. During the war she worked at an army office and as a milk tester. Following the war, her works of poetry, Mountain Mornings was published in The Southland Times. She adopted her maternal grandmother's name, Dallas, as a pen name. Her first book of poetry, Country Road was published in 1953. In 1954 she moved to Dunedin, where she lived for most of her life.

Her poetry was influenced by William Wordsworth and the southern New Zealand landscape. She was awarded the 1968 Robert Burns Fellowship by the University of Otago, which she used to launch a series of children's books, beginning with The Children in the Bush. In 1977, she was a joint winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry. Later, as her eyesight deteriorated, she received A Blind Achievers' Award. In 1989, she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to literature.

Dallas died in 2008 in hospital in Dunedin after suffering a fall in her home.