Nella Larsen was an American novelist of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1919, Nella married Elmer Samuel Imes, a prominent physicist who worked for the Durkee Manufacturing Company in Grasmere. He was the second African American to earn a PhD in physics.
They met while Imes lived in New Brighton at 115 Belmont Pl in New Brighton. In the Fall of 1919, they rented a house at 785 Fingerboard Road in Grasmere, Staten Island close to where Dr. Imes worked. According to some accounts there were no African Americans who lived nearby.
Nella also worked as a nurse at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx through the Flu Epidemic despite the punishing commute from Staten Island. Eventually she and Elmer moved to Harlem.
Read more in the book In Search of Nella Larsen by George Hutchinson.
"Born to a Danish seamstress and a black West Indian cook in one of the Western Hemisphere's most infamous vice districts, Nella Larsen (1891-1964) lived her life in the shadows of America's racial divide. She wrote about that life, was briefly celebrated in her time, then was lost to later generations--only to be rediscovered and hailed by many as the best black novelist of her generation. In his search for Nella Larsen, the "mystery woman of the Harlem Renaissance," George Hutchinson exposes the truths and half-truths surrounding this central figure of modern literary studies, as well as the complex reality they mask and mirror. His book is a cultural biography of the color line as it was lived by one person who truly embodied all of its ambiguities and complexities." (Description courtesy of Google Books).