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Starkey, Marion Lena (1901–) - U.S. History

university massachusetts hampton boston

Marion Lena Starkey was born on April 13, 1901, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Arthur E. Starkey, a painter and publisher, and Alice T. (Gray) Starkey. She received a B.S. from Boston University in 1922, an M.A. from Boston University in 1935, and did graduate study at Harvard in 1946. She was editor of the Saugus Herald in Saugus, Massachusetts, from 1924 to 1929, then became an associate professor of English at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia, from 1930 to 1943. Her first book, The First Plantation: A History of Hampton and Elizabeth City County, Va., 1607–1887 , was privately printed. She entered the Women’s Army Corps in 1943 and remained until 1945 as translator and editor for the Office of Strategic Services in Algiers, Bari, Caserta, and Paris. She returned to the United States and became an assistant professor of English at the University of Connecticut, New London from 1946 to 1950 and the University of Connecticut, Hartford from 1950 to 1961 before becoming a full-time writer.

Marion Starkey wrote The Cherokee Nation in 1946; The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials in 1949; A Little Rebellion in 1955; Land Where Our Fathers Died: The Settling of the Eastern Shores, 1607–1735 in 1962; Striving To Make It My Home: The Story of Americans from Africa in 1964; The Congregational Way: The Role of the Pilgrims and Their Heirs In Shaping America in 1966; Lace Cuffs and Leather Aprons: Popular Struggles in the Federalist Era, 1738–1800 in 1972; The Visionary Girls: Witchcraft in Salem Village (juvenile) in 1973; and The Tall Man from Boston in 1975. It was said that in The Devil in Massachusetts she was the first historian to use the unpublished verbatim transcriptions of documents and papers on witchcraft in Salem.

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over 5 years ago

I was lucky to have grown up next to Marion Starkey ,In saugus , mass .She was a wonderful interesting woman ,who taught me a lot as a child .I would visit her for hours .I have great memories of her and look forward to passing on her books and legacy to my child when he's older .Its great to read about her on the internet :)

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almost 6 years ago

I recently obtained Miss Starkey's The First Plantation via ILL fm UNC for secondary private research & found this little volume useful for my purposes.

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over 6 years ago

Please note that Marion died in Saugus, Massachusetts, on December 18, 1991.

Also please note that in his 1987 autobiography, "Timebends," Arthur Miller acknowledges Marion's book as the immediate catalyst for his writing of "The Crucible" (Penguin paperback, 1995, page 330): "As though it had been ordained, a copy of Marion Starkey's book 'The Devil in Massachusetts' fell into my hands, and the bizarre story came back as I had recalled it, but his time in remarkably well-organized detail."

In his Introduction to the Penguin edition (1995) of Miller's drama, Christopher Bigsby elaborates upon the influence that Marion's approach to the Salem story had on the playwright.

And in the "Aldous Huxley Annual" (vol. 5 [2005]), Irina Golovacheva's essay "Witches and the Devil in Salem and Loudun" (pages 193–214) offers an interdisciplinary analysis of Marion's book (1949), Huxley's play "The Devils of Loudun" (1952), Miller's "Crucible" (1953)—and, interestingly, Huxley's Introduction to the 1963 Time Inc. special edition of Marion's volume (in which he describes "this admirable book" as "a small historical classic").