Millen Brand (1906–1980) was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, into a working-class family and was of Pennsylvania German descent on his mother’s side. Following graduation from Columbia University in 1929, he worked briefly as a psychiatric aide and for several years as a copywriter for the New York Telephone company before taking up faculty posts at the University of New Hampshire and New York University. The Outward Room, Brand’s first and most acclaimed novel, appeared in 1937, and was adapted for Broadway in 1939 as The World We Make. In 1948, with Frank Partos, he received an academy award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of Mary Jane Ward’s novel The Snake Pit. Brand’s association with members of the Hollywood Ten led to his questioning by the House Un-American Activities Committee; he refused to cooperate, invoking the Fifth Amendment. From the early 1950s to the early 1970s, Brand was an editor at Crown Publishers. His other novels include The Heroes; Albert Sears; Some Love, Some Hunger; and Savage Sleep. He was also the author of Local Lives, a book of poems about the Pennsylvania Dutch; a posthumously published account of his participation in the 1977 Peace March from Nagasaki to Hiroshima; and the text to Fields of Peace, a book of photographs by George Tice.
The Outward Room was a sensation when first published in 1937. It is the story of a young womans path from suffering to deep fulfillment, set in Depression-era New York City. One of those firmly painted, exquisite miniatures of life…that contrive to be unsparing and honest, and at the same time refreshing and lovely. —Theodore Dreiser