Mary Johnston

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Mary Johnston
Picture of Mary Johnston.jpg
Picture of Mary Johnston
Born(1870-11-21)November 21, 1870
Buchanan, Virginia
DiedMay 9, 1936(1936-05-09)
OccupationNovelist, activist
SubjectsLiterature
Notable work(s)To Have and to Hold
 
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For other people named Mary Johnston, see Mary Johnston (disambiguation).
Mary Johnston
Picture of Mary Johnston.jpg
Picture of Mary Johnston
Born(1870-11-21)November 21, 1870
Buchanan, Virginia
DiedMay 9, 1936(1936-05-09)
OccupationNovelist, activist
SubjectsLiterature
Notable work(s)To Have and to Hold

Mary Johnston (November 21, 1870 – May 9, 1936)[1] was an American novelist and women's rights advocate.

Early life[edit]

The daughter of an American Civil War soldier who became a successful lawyer, Mary Johnston was born in the small town of Buchanan, Virginia. A small and frail girl, she was educated at home by family and tutors. She grew up with a love of books and was financially independent enough to devote herself to writing.

Career as novelist[edit]

Johnston wrote historical books and novels that often combined romance with history. Her first book Prisoners of Hope (1898) dealt with colonial times in Virginia as did her second novel To Have and to Hold (1900) and 1904's Sir Mortimer. The Goddess of Reason (1907) uses the theme of the French Revolution and in Lewis Rand (1908), the author portrayed political life at the dawn of the 19th century.

To Have and to Hold was serialized in the The Atlantic Monthly in 1899 and published in 1900 by Houghton Mifflin. The book proved enormously popular and was the bestselling novel in the United States in 1900. Johnston's next work titled Audrey was the 5th bestselling book in the U.S. in 1902, and Sir Mortimer serialized in the Harper's Monthly Magazine from November 1903 through April 1904 and published in 1904. Her best-selling 1911 novel on the American Civil War, The Long Roll, brought her into open conflict with Stonewall Jackson's widow, Mary Anna Jackson.[2] Beyond her native America, Johnston's novels were also very popular in Canada and in England.

Film adaptations[edit]

Three of Johnston's books were adapted to film. Audrey was made into a silent film of the same name in 1916 and her blockbuster work To Have and to Hold was made into a silent film in 1916 and filmed again in 1922. Pioneers of the Old South was adapted to film in 1923 under the title Jamestown.

Other aspects of career[edit]

During her long career, in addition to twenty-three novels, Johnston wrote a number of short stories, one drama, and two long narrative poems. She used her fame to advocate women's rights, strongly supporting the women's suffrage movement.

Death[edit]

Johnston died in 1936, at the age of 65, at her home in Warm Springs, Virginia.[1] She was interred in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.

Her house at Warm Springs, Three Hills, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.[3] Her Richmond home on Linden Row was listed in 1971.[4]

Partial bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kelly, William W. (2006). "Mary Johnston (1870-1936)". In Flora, Joseph M. Southern Writers: A New Biographical Dictionary. Vogel, Amber; Giemza, Bryan. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press. pp. 222–223. ISBN 0-8071-3123-7. Retrieved June 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ Hettle, Wallace (Spring 2008). "Mary Johnston and "Stonewall" Jackson: A Virginia Feminist and the Politics of Historical Fiction". Journal of Historical Biography 3. 
  3. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 2/04/13 through 2/08/13. National Park Service. 2014-01-03. 
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 

External links[edit]