Margaret Ayer Barnes

Margaret Ayer Barnes (1886-1967) was a novelist, playwright, and short story writer whose participation in the theater began at Bryn Mawr. She and a classmate were trained by field hockey coach Constance Applebee for their fencing scene in The Princess. She began writing seriously only in 1925 when she was immobilized during a long recovery from an automobile accident. She wrote short stories at first, but then began working with a friend, playwright Edward Sheldon, to dramatize Edith Wharton's recently published Age of Innocence. The play was produced in 1928 with Katharine Cornell in the lead and was an instant success. Her own novel, Edna, His Wife (1935) was also adapted for the stage - by Cornelia Otis Skinner.

In 1930, Barnes's most successful novel, Years of Grace, won the Pulitzer Prize. The story chronicles the life of Jane Ward Carver, a woman of the upper middle class who attends Bryn Mawr. The college, along with its presidents M. Carey Thomas and Marion Park, figure prominently. The manuscript is one of many in Barnes's Papers, held by the Library.

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