Mary Johnston

Mary Johnston

Birth
Buchanan, Botetourt County, Virginia, USA
Death 9 May 1936 (aged 65)
Warm Springs, Bath County, Virginia, USA
Burial Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 29334060 · View Source
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Author. She was a popular writer of the genre of novel now termed "historical romance". Raised in Buchanan she was the child of a noted Virginia family, her father a Major of Artillery in Jackson's Corps and her cousin General Joe Johnston. Essentially self educated due to chronic ill health, and possessed of the financial means to support herself while refining her craft, Miss Mary was to set most of her books in the Old South with the times ranging from the early colonial period to the Civil War. Her debut work, dealing with Colonial Virginia, was "Prisoners of Hope", first published in 1898; her next effort, "To Have and to Hold", set in the Jamestown Settlement and serialized in "The Atlantic Monthly", was to become the largest selling book of 1900. The Virginia-themed "Audrey" (1902) and "Sir Mortimer" (1904) were also high on the best-seller list, but she reached across the Atlantic to place 1907's "The Goddess of Reason" in the French Revolution. Considering her family history her choice of the Civil War as a subject is not surprising and indeed 1911's "The Long Roll" and the 1912 "Cease Firing" were well received. "The Long Roll" which concerned the winter campaign of late 1861 and early 1862 was to cause her a bit of trouble due to her implication that Stonewall Jackson was mentally ill. Anna Jackson, widow of the General, denounced the book and tried to have Miss Mary kicked out of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). Miss Anna's effort, however, was doomed to failure both because Miss Mary's own UDC credentials were impeccable and because many held the opinion, though they were naturally reclutant to express it, that she was in fact correct in her estimation of Stonewall's lack of mental stability. Over the course of her career she published twenty three novels, one play, numerous short stories, and two long poems, her works popular in England and Canada as well as in America. Three of her novels were made into movies, "Audrey" in 1916, "To Have and to Hold" in 1918 and again in 1922, and "Pioneers of the Old South" in 1923. Miss Mary was an early women's rights advocate, using her wealth and fame to promote the women's suffrage movement. In 2007 "To Have and to Hold" was rereleased as part of the celebration honoring the 400th. anniversary of Jamestown. Never leaving a doubt as to her loyalty Miss Mary said: "Virginia (incidentally, the entire South) is my country and the Stars-and-Bars is my flag".

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 26 Aug 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 29334060
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Johnston (21 Nov 1870–9 May 1936), Find a Grave Memorial no. 29334060, citing Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .