This Goodly Land

Marie Stanley (April 13, 1885–1936)

Other Names Used

Alabama Connections

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Biographical Information

Marie Stanley was born and raised in Mobile, Ala. Her parents died when Stanley was a girl, and she lived with her grandmother from age twelve to sixteen. During this period, Stanley became acquainted with Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, who was a close friend of her grandmother. After the death of her grandmother, Stanley lived with relatives in New Jersey and Ohio and trained to be an artist. She returned to Mobile at age twenty-four and opened a studio. To support herself, she taught classes and wrote scripts for silent movies. After her marriage in 1917, Stanley began writing poems and short stories, which were published in literary magazines. She and her husband became involved in local theater in the 1920s, writing, directing, and acting in productions of the Little Theatre of Mobile.

In 1927, Stanley and her husband moved to an estate in Spring Hill, where they entertained local writers such as William March and Henry Hervey. In the late 1920s, the couple moved to Apalachicola, Fla., where Stanley's husband managed a family-owned sawmill. While living there, Stanley worked on a novel set in the Mobile area. Gulf Stream was published in 1930 under the pen name “Marie Stanley,” which combined her first name with that of her husband. The book was well reviewed, although residents of Sandtown, the black community adjacent to Spring Hill, were not pleased with how it portrayed them. Stanley wrote a second novel in the early 1930s, but her publishers rejected it. The disappointment upset her mental balance, which had already been weakened by an alcohol problem. Stanley suffered a collapse and never fully recovered.

Interests and Themes

Marie Stanley’s novel Gulf Stream concerns an interracial romance and the problems encountered by a person of mixed race in both white and black cultures. The story is set in fictionalized versions of Spring Hill, Sandtown, and Mon Saint Louis Island.

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Last updated on Dec 06, 2009.

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