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Marjorie Medary Papers

Identifier: MsC0657

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Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents of editor and author of books for young adults, Marjorie Medary. This collection drafts and other materials relating to Prairie Printer (a sequel to Buckeye Boy), about a pioneer northeast Iowa newspaperman; Orange Winter, about Florida in the 1870's; College in Crinoline and Prairie Anchorage, both of which have pioneer settings, and some other works.


  • Creation: 1930 - 1950


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Marjorie Medary, daughter and granddaughter of Waukon newspaper editors and publishers, was born in Waukon in 1930. A graduate of Cornell College, she wrote a history of the college for its centennial celebration in 1953 which was published in The Palimpsest (Vol. 34, No. 4, April 1953) by the State Historical Society. After receiving her M.A. degree from Northwestern in 1914, she taught school in New England and later in Indianapolis, and then went into publishing work in order to further a career in writing. Miss Medary has managed to divide her time between the creative and practical fields by spending seven months of the year writing in her home, "Halcyon House," in Hampton, Connecticut, and the remainder of each year living in an apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts while she edits textbooks for Ginn & Company in Boston. Prior to her eventual position with Ginn & Company she had worked as assistant editor in the school department of McGraw-Hill in New York.

At Cornell, Marjorie Medary had experimented with short stories and verse in the style of what was then appearing in the Atlantic. When she attended a Bread Loaf Writers' Conference one summer, the "negative reaction" her work received was just stimulus enough to make her persevere and prove that she could be a writer. Later, when two stories which happened to be about children were accepted for publication, she decided that her talent lay in that direction. Her books for teenagers have not been about modern teenagers, whom she says she does not know well enough, but rather have dealt with fictional ones against a historical background.Prairie Printer(a sequel to Buckeye Boy), which is about a pioneer northeast Iowa newspaperman, is based on the experiences of her grandfather, Thomas Corwin Medary. Her first book, Orange Winter, originated from a combination of her own girlhood reminiscences of a trip to Florida and her mother's anecdotes about Florida in the 1870's. College in Crinoline and Prairie Anchorage both have pioneer settings. Miss Medary's feeling is that there is a wealth of pioneer history of the Midwest which is as yet unrecorded, and as one who still has close ties with that era, she feels it incumbent upon her to set down this history, from the anecdotes and memories of the first settlers, in the form of literature. Her ideas on this subject may be found in an article she wrote for the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald at the time her Prairie Anchorage was due to be published (on August 30, 1933).


1.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Method of Acquisition

These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Marjorie Medary, beginning in 1946.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)