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MARY HEATON VORSE
The leftist journalist, novelist, and union organizer Mary Heaton Vorse (1874-1966) was born in New York City and lived in Greenwich Village for many years. She reported for magazines and newspapers on hundreds of major strikes and other labor actions in the United States and internationally from the early 1900s until the mid-1950s, when she was in her late seventies. She was likewise an important advocate for the rights of women and children, and covered suffrage issues for magazines such as the Masses, where she was an editor from 1912 to 1917. A twice widowed mother of three children, she supplemented her income by publishing countless popular short stories. From the early 1900s, when she and her first husband lived in a cooperative house on Fifth Avenue, Vorse and her family spent summers in the arts colony of Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she helped to found the Provincetown Players in 1915. John Dos Passos fictionalized her as the character Mary French in The Big Money (1936).
The cover, opening pages, and a selected chapter from Norman Bel Geddes's copy of Mary Heaton Vorse's Men and Steel (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920)
One of eighteen books written by Vorse over the course of her career, this volume resulted from her research into the steel industry after she was commissioned to write a story for Outlook magazine on "The Great Steel Strike" in Pittsburgh in 1919. This copy was owned by the industrial and theatrical designer Norman Bel Geddes, whose archive resides at the Ransom Center.