Marjorie Worthington papers , 1931-1976

Overview of the Collection

Worthington, Marjorie Muir, 1900-1976
Marjorie Worthington papers
1931-1976 (inclusive)
12.25 linear feet, (24 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 152
Author who lived in France in the 1920s and 1930s and socialized with other American expatriate artists and writers. Consists of personal diaries, 1931-1962; personal and professional correspondence, 1916-1976; published and unpublished manuscripts of novels, short stories, essays, poems, and speeches, mostly written after 1966; class notes on writers' workshops; reviews and publicity; bibliographies, royalty statements, and contracts; personal material and photographs; and books by her and from her library.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

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Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Marjorie Muir Worthington was born in 1900 in New York City. She initially aspired to be an artist and attended various art schools during her early years. While still in high school she began selling poems to magazines. Thus encouraged, she turned to journalism, which she studied at New York University School of Journalism. Her novel Spider Web, the fifth she had written, was published by Cape & Smith in 1930.

In 1926, Worthington traveled to Paris where she joined ranks with other expatriate American artists and writers to whom Gertrude Stein referred as the "lost generation." There she met William Seabrook, well-known author in his own right, with whom she spent most of her time. She divorced her second husband, Lyman Worthington, in 1932; she had first been married to Carlton Beecher Stetson. While in France, Worthington and Seabrook socialized with notable figures of the age - Ford Maddox Ford, Sinclair Lewis, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Aldous Huxley, Thomas Mann, and Walter Duranty.

In 1932, Seabrook and Worthington journeyed to Africa to gather material for one of his books. While there, Worthington fell in love with Raymond Bauret, a Frenchman. She returned to France with Seabrook however, and they married in 1935. His experiments in witchcraft and voodooism, compounded by his bouts of sadism and alcoholism, led to their divorce in 1941. Seabrook committed suicide in 1945.

Meanwhile, Worthington continued to write novels and short stories. Eleven of her novels were published and many of her short stories appeared in magazines such as Vogue, McCall's, Vanity Fair, Harper's, and Cosmopolitan. Some of these short stories were adapted for radio and television. In the 1950's and 1960's, Worthington began writing biographies and three were published: Miss Alcott of Concord (Louisa May Alcott), The Immortal Lovers (Heloise and Abelard), and The Strange World of Willie Seabrook (William Seabrook). Her last major published work was the book about Seabrook, brought out in 1966.

After her divorce from Seabrook, Worthington spent the rest of her life in New York and Florida. During this time she continued to write despite publishers' rejections. In addition to writing, Worthington lectured and led writers' workshops. She died February 17, 1976 of cancer.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Marjorie Worthington Papers consist of diaries, correspondence, manuscripts, notes, reviews and publicity, publication information, some personal material, scrapbooks, and books. Although formally trained in art, the collection reflects Worthington's career switch to writer.

Worthington's life in France, her relationship with her third husband, William Seabrook, and the social set with whom they associated are documented in her diaries. Correspondence is primarily of a personal nature although business-related letters are included. Noteworthy correspondents include Aldous and Laura Huxley, Walter Duranty, William Aspenwall Bradley, William Seabrook, Man Ray, and Raymond Bauret. These and other notable correspondents are listed in the Selected Name Index which follows at the end of the inventory. All correspondence is arranged chronologically. The letters from Bauret are written in French.

Manuscripts include novels and short stories as well as articles, essays, poems and speeches. Most of the manuscripts in this collection were written after 1966 and, for the most part, were not published. Several of the manuscripts are autobiographical. They are divided according to length and arranged alphabetically by title.

Reviews and publicity are arranged alphabetically by title of the work. Other publication information consists of royalty statements and contracts. Books written by Worthington, her husband William Seabrook, and a circle of literary friends such as Aldous Huxley and Walter Duranty, complete the collection.

The collection includes 263 portraits and snapshots of Worthington and Seabrook, their friends, and their 1932 trip to Africa.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Authors, Exiled--20th century
  • Women authors, American--20th century

Personal Names

  • Bauret, Raymond
  • Bradley, William Aspenwall, 1878-1939
  • Duranty, Walter, 1884-1957
  • Farrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979
  • Gunther, John, 1901-1970
  • Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963
  • Man Ray, 1890-1976
  • Maxwell, William, 1908-2000
  • Seabrook, William, 1884-1945
  • Worthington, Marjorie Muir, 1900-1976