Helen Elswyth Thane Ricker Beebe (May 16, 1900 – July 1984) was an American romance novelist. Born in Burlington, Iowa, she was the daughter of a local teacher and high school principal. The family moved to New York City in 1918, and "Helen Ricker" changed her name to "Elswyth Thane". She began working as a freelance writer in the 20s, and became a newspaper writer and a Hollywood screenwriter. Her first novel, Riders of the Wind, was published in 1926. Her novel, The Tudor Wench, about Elizabeth I of England, was made into a play.
On September 22, 1927, she married 50-year-old naturalist and explorer William Beebe. Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt was one of the guests at the wedding.
'Will' Beebe (2nd from left) and wife Elswyth Thane (far right) with friends at home near Wilmington, Vermont in 1957
Beebe died in 1962, leaving only half of his estate to his widow. She lived on the couple's farm in Wilmington, Vermont. Her last work, Fighting Quaker: Nathaniel Greene, was published in 1972. When she died, she left her papers to the University of Iowa.
Thane is most famous for her "Williamsburg" series of historical fiction. The books cover several generations of a single family from the American Revolutionary War up to World War II. The action moves from Williamsburg in later books to England, New York City and Richmond, Virginia.