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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Marjorie Medary Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1930 - 1950
Creator: Medary, Marjorie (-1930)
Extent: 1.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0657
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Editor and author of books for young adults. 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.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

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

Preferred Citation: Papers of Marjorie Medary, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

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).

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Newspaper clippings - 1946-1975
  • Buckeye Boy
  • Draft, with revisions (pencil written)
  • Galley proof, with Revisions
  • Revisions -- about 54 pages of scattered typewritten notes
  • Correspondence: Longmans to Miss Medary, April 8 - 1942
  • Correspondence: Longmans to Miss Medary, August 23 - 1944
  • College in Crinoline
    Chapter I and a rough outline. First draft.
  • Edra of the Islands
    First draft in longhand with a few notes and map.
  • Orange Winter
    Printer's copy
  • Prairie Anchorage
    Chapters 14, 15, 16 -- first draft. Printer's copy
  • Prairie Printer
    Original version, handwritten with revisions. A later version, typewritten, incomplete (has missing pages), with revisions. Publisher's copy cortaining a few revisions. Galley proof. Page proof. Typed copy of dedication, contents and bibliography. Hand printed layout in pencil of fly-title, title page and half-title and corresponding pages (typewritten) with decorations (to be used) pasted on.
  • Topgallant, A Herring Gull
    Printer's copy