McCarthy, Mary, 1912-1989

Alternative names
Birth 1912-06-21
Death 1989-10-25
Multiple languages, English

Biographical notes:

American essayist and novelist who served as editor of the PARTISAN REVIEW (1937-1938).

From the description of Letter : Paris, to Nancy Macdonald, New York, NY, 1964 March 16. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 31912412

American critic and novelist.

From the description of Manuscripts for The Group, 1953-1964. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 145405976

Born in Seattle on June 21, 1912, Mary McCarthy was the eldest of four children born to Roy and Therese McCarthy. Orphaned upon their parents’ deaths in the flu epidemic of 1918, Mary and her brothers eventually found refuge with their maternal grandparents in Seattle.

Following her graduation from Vassar College in 1933, McCarthy, intending to pursue a literary career, moved to New York City, where she soon attracted attention for her essays and dramatic criticism. In the late 1930s she began to write short stories, several of which served as the nucleus of her first novel, The Company She Keeps, published in 1942.

As one of the major figures in contemporary American cultural and political thought, Mary McCarthy wrote widely in fiction ( The Oasis, Cast a Cold Eye, The Groves of Academe ), theater criticism ( Mary McCarthy’s Theatre Chronicles, 1937-1962 ), memoir ( Memories of a Catholic Girlhood and How I Grew ), and broad-ranging commentary ( Venice Observed and The Mask of State: Watergate Portraits ). She also taught in the United States and in Britain.

Until her death on October 25, 1989, Mary McCarthy maintained a reputation for unflinching candor, biting wit, and literary grace as her writing gained and (sometimes) provoked a wide readership. Her novel The Group (1963), a fictional account of the lives of several members of the Vassar class of 1933, was her major popular success, first as a best-seller, and then as a motion picture.

From the guide to the Mary McCarthy, Manuscripts for, The Group TXRC05-A10006., 1953-1964, (The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center)

Biographical Note: Mary McCarthy was an American author.

She was born in Seattle, Washington, June 21, 1912. She graduated from Vassar College in 1933 and began her writing career soon afterwards. She was successful as novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, essayist, and critic. Miss McCarthy died in New York city, October 25, 1989.

From the description of Mary McCarthy collection, 1979-1987. (Johns Hopkins University). WorldCat record id: 48380039

American novelist, essayist, and critic.

McCarthy attended Vassar College and was briefly married to Harold Johnsrud. She worked for the PARTISAN REVIEW and married Edmund Wilson. Her first book appeared in 1942, and she wrote frequently in periodicals. Following her divorce from Wilson, she married Bowden Broadwater. In 1960 they divorced, and in 1961 she married James West. McCarthy wrote 28 books and won a number of literary awards and honorary degrees. She died in 1989.

From the description of Mary McCarthy papers 1925-1990 (bulk 1960-1989). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 52443546


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • Women novelists, American--20th century--Archives
  • Authors, American--20th century--Archives
  • Politics and literature--20th century
  • Dissenters
  • Publishers and Publishing


  • Literary agents
  • Critic
  • Novelists
  • Women authors, American
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Women novelists, American--20th century


  • Europe (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • Spain (as recorded)