Marks, Jeannette Augustus,
Marks papers, 1901-1947.
Manuscript Collection: MS 0567
Agency History/Biographical note:
Jeannette Augustus Marks was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on
August 16, 1875. Her father, William Dennis Marks met and married
her mother, Jeannette Colwell, while running a factory in Tennessee.
He later went on to become professor of engineering at the University
of Pennsylvania and president of the Philadelphia Edison Company.
Jeannette Marks was educated at boarding schools in the United
States and Europe and went on to attend Dana Hall and then Wellesley
College where she received her B.A. in 1900. It was here that
Marks met Mary Emma Woolley, then a Wellesley professor, who
was to remain her companion for the next fifty years. Soon after
her inauguration as president of Mount Holyoke, Woolley appointed
Marks instructor in the English Department, which she would eventually
chair. While at the college, Marks founded the Play and Poetry
Shop Talks lecture series inviting notable authors and poets
to Mount Holyoke to discuss modern literature. She also started
the Laboratory Theatre in 1928, which would become her primary
focus at the college until her retirement in 1941. Marks began
writing short stories while a student at Wellesley and continued
to publish throughout her career. Most notable among her writings
were "The Family of the Barretts", a biography of the
family of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and "The Life and
Letters of Mary Emma Woolley". She also conducted a great
deal of research on narcotics and published several books pertaining
to drug addiction. She was a member of the National Women's Party,
the first organization to support the Equal Rights Amendment.
Her political activities also included advocacy for Sacco and
Vanzetti and Eugene V. Debs. While it is unclear if Marks identified
herself as a socialist, she corresponded with and donated money
to local and national socialist causes throughout the 1920s.
After her retirement in 1941, she moved permanently to her childhood
home, Fleur De Lys, on Lake Champlain in New York with Mary Woolley.
Marks died on March 15, 1964 in Westport, New York at the age
Scope and Content:
The Jeanette Augustus Marks Papers include correspondence, writings,
clippings, course materials. Includes material pertaining to
her literary career, her teaching career as a member of the Mount
Holyoke College Department of English Literature and Drama, 1901-1941,
and the Play and Poetry Shop Talk Series; subject files reflecting
her interest in contemporary theater; and extensive correspondence
with authors, playwrights, editors, publishers and Mount Holyoke
faculty, alumnae and students. Correspondants include Katherine
Lee Bates, Hamlin Garland, Marsden Hartley, Robert Hillyer, Arthur
C. Jacobson, Alfred Kreymborg, Louis V. Ledoux, Richard Le Gallienne,
Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell, Channing Pollock, Lola Ridge, Charles
W. Stork, Marguerite Wilkinson, Stark Young and Mary E. Woolley.
Cite as: Jeannette Augustus Marks Papers, Mount Holyoke
College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Massachusetts
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted