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Author Marion Whitney Smith

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

 

            A writer of fiction for juveniles and adults, author of two biographies and contributor of articles for Millinocket’s local newspaper, Marion Whitney Smith, was a resident of town for many years.     

Five booklets (approx. 40-50 pages) were written in the 1950’s-1970’s. Three of them are a combination of fiction and Katahdin Native American legends. Katahdin Fantasies was the first (1953). In her forward to this book, Smith mentions “living in the shadow of Katahdin and watching its moods as the seasons come and go” and “small wonder that the Native Americans ascribed human traits to the character of the mountain.” Chapters include The Coming of Katahdin, Red Rose and Pamola’s Tears. Smith had a map created titled ‘Mt. Katahdin Trails & Roads and the Location of the Ancient Abenaki Indian Legends that Appear in Katahdin Fantasies.’

In Algonquin and Abenaki Indian Myths & Legends, (1962), Smith used information from other writers (both fiction and non-fiction) to create her version of the legends of the Algonquin and Abenaki. The cover illustration was made special for this booklet by Maine artist Maurice “Jake” Day and titled “Bride of Waban – God of the East Wind.” A second and more familiar Day illustration, used with permission, is titled “Pamola – God of Katahdin Talking to Roy Dudley.” Strange Tales of Abenaki Shamanism (1963) follows the same plan, including quotes from other writers plus Smith’s own version of the old tales. This booklet contains several illustrations by local Millinocket artist Bill Grumley.

  Smith also authored Thoreau’s West Branch Tales and Thoreau’s Moosehead and Chesuncook Guides (1963, 1971). For these, the writer used information from many 1800’s sources including Thoreau’s own writings.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Marion and husband Kingman Smith came to Millinocket in 1930 when he was offered an engineer job “at a substantial salary they could not refuse” to work at GNP in a small town in Maine” (from obit.)

She wrote two biographies of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (1986 & 1991), Civil War soldier from the Boston area. Smith’s writings continued to vary and for a time, articles titled “Do You Remember” appeared in the local newspaper. Kingman Smith’s name is also on these interesting articles. Smith and her husband Kingman collaborated on two works of fiction set in Millinocket, a major change from her previous works. The titles are Sensational Lucky Lou and Rebellious Lollie Lawrence.

Marion Whiney Smith died in Millinocket in 2008 at the age of 102.

(Photo shows Marion Whitney Smith on right with Dorothy Laverty and Randy Jackson at a book signing at Mr. Paperback in Millinocket.)



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