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Margaret Carver Leighton papers

Identifier: Ax 285

Scope and Contents note

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.


  • Creation: 1937-1973


Conditions Governing Access note

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.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

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.)


3 linear feet (4 containers)

Language of Materials



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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Margaret Carver Leighton in 1966

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Margaret Carver Leighton Papers
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Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA