Margaret Carver Leighton papers , 1937-1973

Overview of the Collection

Leighton, Margaret Carver
Margaret Carver Leighton papers
1937-1973 (inclusive)
3 linear feet, (4 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 285
Margaret Carver Leighton (1896-1987) was an author of books for children. The collection includes manuscripts, galley proofs, and correspondence for fifteen books relating to Leighton's interest in historical personages and incidents, as well as her own children.
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

Margaret Carver Leighton was born on December 20, 1896 in Oberlin, Ohio to Thomas Nixon Carver and Flora (Kirkendall) Carver. Her father was a professor at Oberlin College and Harvard University. She attended schools in Cambridge, Massachusetts; France; and Switzerland before obtaining her B.A. degree from Radcliffe College in 1918. On May 5, 1921, she married James Herbert Leighton, and together they raised four children: James Herbert, Mary, Thomas Carver, and Sylvia. They resided in Westfield, New Jersey, and Ballston, Virginia, from 1921-1935.

After her husband's death in 1935, Margaret Carver Leighton relocated to California and began writing books for children. Her subjects were inspired either from her own children (who served as the models for the four Hill children in the "Secret" books), or from historical personages and incidents.

From 1938 to 1973, she published 21 books: Junior High School Plays: Ten Short Plays on the American Epic (1938), The Secret of the Old House (1941), Twelve Bright Trumpets (1942, published in England as The Conqueror, and Other Tales from the Middle Ages), The Secret of the Closed Gate (1944), The Singing Cave (1945), Judith of France (1948), The Sword and the Compass: The Far-Flung Adventures of Captain John Smith (1951), The Secret of Bucky Moran, (1952), The Story of Florence Nightingale (1952), The Story of General Custer (1954), Who Rides By? (1955), Comanche of the Seventh (1957), The Secret of Smuggler's Cove (1959), Journey for a Princess (1960), Bride of Glory: The Story of Elizabeth Bacon Custer (1962), Voyage to Coromandel (1965), The Canyon Castaways (1966), A Hole in the Hedge (1968), Cleopatra, Sister of the Moon (1969), The Other Island (1971), and Shelley's Mary: A Life of Mary Godwin Shelley (1973).

She was a member of the Westfield, New Jersey, Board of Education from 1930-1934, a member of the Santa Monica, California, Public Library Board of Trustees, the Authors League of America, and P.E.N., serving as president at the Los Angeles center from 1957-1959.

Margaret Carver Leighton died on June 19, 1987, in Santa Monica, California.

(Source: Gale Literary Databases. "Margaret (Carver) Leighton." Contemporary Authors. 22 August 2003. 22 June 2005.)

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Margaret Carver Leighton Papers include manuscripts, galley proofs, research material, reviews, and correspondence relating to fifteen of her twenty-one books: Junior High School Plays, The Secret of the Old House, Twelve Bright Trumpets, The Secret of the Closed Gate, The Singing Cave, Judith of France, The Sword and The Compass: The Far-Flung Adventures of Captain John Smith, The Secret of Bucky Moran, The Story of Florence Nightingale, Frederick the Great, The Story of General Custer, Who Rides By?, Comanche of the Seventh, The Secret of Smugglers' Cove, and Journey for a Princess.

The collection also includes manuscripts of Comanche of the Seventh, Bride of Glory, The Canyon Castaways, Cleopatra: Sister of the Moon, The Other Island, and Shelley's Mary.

Among the 425 letters of the collection is a major series of correspondence with Wilma K. McFarland, the editor of The Portal and Child Life, 1937-1947.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Adventure stories, American--Women authors
  • Book editors--Correspondence
  • Children's literature, American--Authorship
  • Historical fiction, American--Women authors
  • Women authors, American--20th century

Personal Names

  • McFarland, Wilma K., 1890-

Form or Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts for publication