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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA
Birth NameMary Marvin Heaton

Mini Bio (1)

Mary Marvin Heaton was born in New York City on October 11, 1874, the daughter of Hiram and Ellen Cordelia Blackman Heaton. Her father was a private teacher who taught English literature. Her mother had been married to a wealthy merchant before he died and he left her a fortune and five children (interestingly, Mary's middle name was the surname of her mother's first husband). Mary spent much of her youth abroad with her family. She was educated at schools in France and Germany and, at times, by her father. As a young woman she studied to be a painter at art schools in Paris and New York.

On October 26, 1898, she married Albert White Vorse (1866-1910) at Amherst, Massachusetts. He was a Harvard graduate, journalist and future author. In 1892 he had worked as a journalist on the Peary Relief Expedition in Greenland. Mary and Albert had two children: Heaton Vorse (1901) and Mary White Vorse (1907). Albert died of a cerebral hemorrhage on June 14, 1910, at Staten Island, New York, while Mary and her children were on an ocean liner returning home from Europe. At the time of his death, the couple had been estranged for some months. Sadly, Mary's mother died that very same day of a heart attack at her home in Amherst. Coincidentally, 56 years later, Mary also died on the 14th of June.

Though Mary had started writing several years before Albert's death, circumstances now forced her into writing full time. After her mother had passed away Mary learned that she had been written out of her will. Ellen Heaton had disliked Albert and disapproved of their lifestyle.

During her long career Mary Heaton Vorse wrote 16 books, two plays and scores of articles for newspapers, magazines and periodicals. An example of some of her more well known works are: "The Heart of the House" (1906), "The Breaking-In of a Yachtsman's Wife" (1908), "The Very Little Person" (1911), "The Autobiography of an Elderly Woman" (1911), "Standardizing Jimmy" (1913), "The Heart's Country" (1913), "The Prestons" (1918), "I've Come to Stay" (1919), "Growing Up" (1920), "The Ninth Man" (1920), "Men and Steel" (1921), "Fraycar's Fist" (1923), "Weisbord's Farewell to Passaic" (1926), "The Battle of Passaic" (1926), "School for Bums" (1931), "How Scottsboro Happened" (1933), "A Footnote to Folly" (1935), "Lawrence Strike" (1935), "Labor's New Millions" (1938) and "Time and the Town: A Provincetown Chronicle" (1942).

In 1911 she witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City, in which 146 garment workers (mostly women) had perished--the factory doors had been locked shut by the owners and many workers had been forced by the fire to jump to their deaths. As a journalist, Mary would spend much of the remainder of her career as an advocate of worker's rights. On June 19, 1937, Mary's forehead was grazed by a stray bullet after a labor dispute she was covering at a steel plant in Youngstown, Ohio, turned into riot.

In 1912 she married freelance journalist and labor activist Joe O'Brien. The couple shared a common concern over the plight of the ordinary working man. Earlier that year Mary and Joe had covered together a labor strike that involved immigrant textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts. On October 27, 1915, Joe died suddenly in New York City after battling stomach cancer for several months. Joel, their only child together, was born the previous year. Around 1921 she married Robert Minor (1884-1952), a newspaper cartoonist and founding member of the American Communist Party. Minor left her in 1922 shortly after she had suffered a miscarriage. Her brief flirtation with communism ended after observing it up close while visiting Russia under the Joseph Stalin regime. She still remained a strong advocate of many left-wing causes, however. She became a pacifist after, as a journalist, witnessing the carnage of the First World War and remained so throughout the Second World War. She had also been an early campaigner for the equality of women.

Mary's writings covered a wide range of subjects. In 2002 Jesica Amands Salmonson published a collection of seven supernatural stories by Mary Heaton Vorse, entitled "Sinister Romance": Collected Ghost Stories.

Mary Heaton Vorse died on June 14, 1966, at her home in Provincetown. She was survived by all three of her children.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John F. Barlow (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (3)

Robert Minor (1921 - 1922) ( divorced)
Joe O'Brien (1912 - 1915) ( his death) ( 1 child)
Albert White Vorse (1898 - 1910) ( his death) ( 2 children)

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