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Born to a historian father and psycologist mother; Lockridge entered Indiana University in 1931, was a gifted student, winning a scholarship to Harvard in 1940. Instead of focussing on Walt Whitman, the subject of his doctoral thesis, Lockridge chose to write Raintree County, his take on the Great American Novel and succeded. The novel hit #1 in the New York Times best seller list, was awarded a MGM movie contract and excerpts of his book were published in Life magazine.