JOHNSTON, MARY, 1870-1936


Writer. Born–November 21, 1870, Buchanan, Boutetort County, Va. Parents– John William and Elizabeth Dixon (Alexander) Johnston. Education– largely self-taught; read widely on her own; attended Atlanta Female Institute for a few months in 1887. Moved to Birmingham, Ala. about 1886; took charge of the household at her mother’s death in 1889; accompanied her father on European trips in 1890 and 1893. Wrote her first historical romance, Prisoners of Hope, in 1898 to bolster the family fortunes. Wrote a total of 23 novels, two long narrative poems, and one play during her lifetime;  became one of the most popular novelists of her day. Novel To Have and to Hold was a tremendous popular success.  An advocate for women’s rights; her novel Hagar is considered one of the first feminist novels.  Member Equal Suffrage League of Virginia. Died May 9, 1936.


American Authors and Books; online Encyclopedia of Virginia.


Audrey. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1902.

By Order of the Company. London; Constable, 1900.

Cease Firing. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1912.

Croatan. Boston; Little Brown, 1923.

The Exile. New York; Harper & Bros., 1927.

Foes. New York; Harper & Row, 1918.

The Fortunes of Garin. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1915.

1492. Boston; Little Brown, 1922.

The Goddess of Reason. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1907.

The Great Valley. Boston; Little Brown, 1926.

Hagar. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1913.

The Laird of Glenfernie. London; Constable, 1919.

Lewis Rand. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1908.

The Long Roll. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1911.

Michael Forth. New York; Harper & Bros., 1919.

Pioneers of the Old South; a Chronicle of English Colonial Beginnings. New Haven, Conn.; Yale University Press, 1921.

Prisoners of Hope; a Tale of Colonial Virginia. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1926.

The Reason Why. National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1909.

Silver Cross. Boston; Little Brown, 1922.

Sir Mortimer. London; Constable, 1904.

The Slave Ship. Boston; Little Brown, 1924.

Sweet Rocket. New York; Harper, 1920.

To Have and to Hold. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1928.

The Wanderers. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1917.

The Witch. Boston; Houghton-Mifflin, 1914.