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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Marjorie Mason papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1960-1995
Creator: Mason, Marjorie (1913-)
Extent: 7.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0376
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Teacher, newspaper columnist and poet from Sioux City, Iowa.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no.538 ) were donated by Larry Mason in 1998.

Preferred Citation: Marjorie Mason papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Marjorie Walker Mason was born December 13, 1913 in Mound City, Missouri, the daughter of John and Lora Walker. She was the fourth daughter and was followed by one brother. Her father was a Methodist minister and because of his profession, the family moved to a new community every two to four years. The longest they lived in any town was five years spent in Rolf, Iowa. The family was very close-knit and worked hard to provide themselves with food and clothing during the Great Depression and war years. The women of the family were active in the Ladies Aid and other church organizations. Lora Walker often took the pulpit and preached for her husband when he was sick.

When Marjorie Walker was fifteen the family moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where she graduated from East High School in 1930. Marjorie Walker received her bachelor's degree and her certificate in teaching from Morningside College in Sioux City and then taught third through fifth grades and high school English, speech and music in Harcourt, Iowa. This proved to be very stressful and she decided to leave public teaching and attend business college for eighteen months in Sioux City.

At twenty-five, Marjorie Walker met and married Elmer Mason in Des Moines. Because of her poor health following the birth of two sons, her doctor advised the family to move to Texas. In Texas the family adopted a son. Elmer Mason worked driving trucks and Marjorie Mason held various jobs. She worked as a dressmaker, for an insurance company, and as a secretary/bookkeeper at a cotton press for fifteen years, and taught English at Laredo Junior College. Marjorie and Elmer Mason converted to the Mormon Church in 1964. After her retirement from Laredo, Marjorie Mason attended classes and received her master's degree, continuing to teach while she wrote her master's thesis. The Masons eventually moved to Zapata, Texas, where Marjorie Mason wrote a column called "Etcetera" for the Zapata County News . A few years later, the Masons retired to Iowa, where Marjorie Mason concentrated on writing poetry.

The Marjorie Mason papers date from the 1960s to 1995 and measure seven linear inches. The papers are arranged in the following series: BIographical information, Family Essays, Newspaper Columns, Poems, Short Stories, and Books.
 
The Biographical information series includes two photographs of Marjorie Mason and a 1995 interview with Mason conducted by Helen Gunderson in which Mason discusses her childhood as a minister's daughter, her faith, and her writing.
 
The Family Essays series consists of twelve essays written about various members of Mason's family, including her mother, father, aunt, sisters, and ancestors. Included is a memoir written by her sister Charlotte Walker Baker and a newspaper clipping of her brother Harvey Walker. The essays include the history of her family, and the impact of the Great Depression and World War Two on her family's life and work.
 
The Newspaper Columns (1981-86) consist of Mason's weekly columns in the Zapata County News , in Zapata, Texas. Her column, "Etcetera," contained an eclectic mix of humor, advice, life stories, and discussion of various issues.
 
The Poems series consists of poems and limericks written by Mason about a wide variety of topics, including Texas, family, music, nature, and religion.
 
The Short Stories include short fiction and children's stories, mostly written while Mason was attending graduate school. Two books complete the collection: Easy Lessons in English , a workbook written by Marjorie Mason to aid in the teaching of basic English grammar, and The Brewer of Old What and Other Poems, a book of poetry, letters, and other writings by Mason's grandmother Emma Bassett Hennessey edited by Marjorie Mason.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
Series 2: FAMILY ESSAYS
Series 3: NEWSPAPER COLUMN "ETCETERA" (ZAPATA, TX, COUNTY NEWS)
Series 4: POEMS
Series 5: SHORT STORIES
Series 6: BOOKS

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION
  • Box 1:
  • Photographs
  • Series 2: FAMILY ESSAYS
  • Box 1:
  • Marjorie Mason, Edwin Silas Steele, Weldon Nicholas Baker, and Ivan Wadsley
  • Ancestors
  • Childhood
  • John Harvey Walker
  • Lora Hennessey Walker
  • Enid Hennessey
  • Ruth Walker Steele
  • Charlotte Walker Baker
  • Charlotte Walker Baker (memoirs)
  • Marjorie Mason
  • Dorothy Walker Wadsley
  • Harvey Walker
  • Laura Drury
  • Series 3: NEWSPAPER COLUMN "ETCETERA" (ZAPATA, TX, COUNTY NEWS)
  • Box 1:
  • Chronological - 1981-1983
  • Chronological - 1984
  • Chronological - 1985-1986
  • Essays, memories
  • Series 4: POEMS
  • Box 1:
  • Miscellaneous
  • Texas
  • Family
  • Humor, Limericks
  • Death
  • Friendship Haven
  • Music
  • Nature
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Series 5: SHORT STORIES
  • Box 1:
  • A-F
  • G-L
  • M-P
  • Q-Z
  • Box 2:
  • Texas
  • Terre Haute
  • Salt Lake City
  • The Jones Family
  • Fiction, Children's Stories
  • Series 6: BOOKS
  • Box 2:
  • Easy Lessons in English by Marjorie Mason - 1979
  • "The Brewer of Old What and Other Poems" by Emma Bassett Hennessey, edited by Marjorie Mason - 1982