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Marion Harland, 1830-1922
Marion Harland's Autobiography: The Story of a Long Life
New York; London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1910.


Mary Virginia Hawes was born in Virginia in 1830 to Samuel and Judith Hawes. She was educated by a private tutor and by the age of fourteen was contributing regularly to a Richmond newspaper. At sixteen, she published her first novel, Alone (1854), under the pen name Marion Harland, which she continued to use for over sixty years. In 1856, she married Edward Terhune, a Presbyterian minister, and the couple moved from Virginia to Newark, New Jersey, then later to Springfield, Massachusetts, and finally to Brooklyn, New York. While she wrote mostly fiction, Harland also authored several practical guides for home economics. Her final works were her autobiography and The Carringtons of High Hill. She died in 1922.

Marion Harland's Autobiography: The Story of a Long Life was published in 1910. Harland begins with an account of her ancestors and describes the lives of her grandparents with excerpts from their letters. She discusses her parents and their marriage before giving an account of her own childhood and early years. She recalls writing at a young age, her marriage, and her subsequent move north. Throughout the narrative, she provides a historical context for her experiences and discusses her feelings about the rising tension between the North and the South, the Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

Work Consulted: Knight, Lucian Lamar, comp., Biographical Dictionary of Southern Authors, Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1978.

Harris Henderson

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