University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Marie Donahue papers, 1904-2008

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

The Marie Donahue papers offer a unique portrait of a literary life anchored in South Berwick, Maine, much of it centering around Sarah Orne Jewett. There is correspondence between Donahue and numerous literary figures including Gladys Hasty Carroll, Dorothy Healy, and Douglas Alvord, as well as Senators Margaret Chase Smith and George Mitchell. The collection also includes letters between Donahue and her editors at various magazines, as well as letters from her former students. The collection includes information on many Maine historical organizations, including the Dunnybrook Historical Society, the Jewett House, and Hamilton House, as well as the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. There is significant material from Donahue’s teaching career at Dover High School and Berwick Academy, including teaching notes and assignments. The collection also contains drafts and copies of Donahue’s numerous writing projects and freelance articles for outlets such as Down East and The Boston Globe.

Biographical/Historical Note

Marie A. Donahue was born in South Berwick, Maine in 1920. Donahue graduated from Berwick Academy as valedictorian in 1937. She attended the University of New Hampshire where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in English and went on to earn her master’s degree in English. She began her career at UNH, teaching such courses as New Hampshire Literature as well as Media and Methods, and she also supervised new teachers. Upon leaving UNH, she taught English at Berwick Academy until 1957. Donahue then taught English at Dover High School and became chair of the English department until she retired in 1980. Upon request to return, she taught part-time at Berwick Academy until her official retirement in 1988.

Outside of teaching, Donahue wrote freelance articles for Down East, The Boston Globe, The Maine Sunday Telegram, New England Guide, and New Hampshire Profiles Magazine. She wrote forwards and introductions for books such as Old Kittery and Her Families, A Country Doctor, Country By-Ways, Deephaven, and The Tory Lover, and for short stories such as “A White Heron,” “The Hiltons’ Holiday,” and “A Neighbor’s Landmark.” Donahue wrote a history of Berwick Academy entitled The Old Academy on the Hill: A Bicentennial History 1791-1991, published in 1992 by Picton Press.