Mary Elting, Franklin Folsom, and Michael Folsom

Biographical notes:

Mary Elting was born in 1906 in Creede, Colorado, and, as the first person in her family to attend college, studied at the University of Boulder at Colorado. After graduating from college she moved to New York to work for Forum Magazine, where she was promoted to copy editor after one week of working as a secretary. Since then, except for a year studying in France, she worked consistently for several decades writing children's books and as an editor for book and magazine publishers. Elting passed away in 2005.

Franklin Folsom was born in 1907 in Boulder, Colorado, and attended the University there. He met Mary Elting his sophomore year and they were married ten years later. After graduating, he taught at Swarthmore for two years, and then spent three years at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He served as an able bodied seaman in the Merchant Marine during World War II. In 1948 he joined Mary in working full time writing children's books, and later began writing books for adults as well. In addition to being a prolific author, Folsom was a determined social activist. His membership in the anti-fascist League of American Writers spurred years of government surveillance, continuing up to 1986's Great Peace March, of which he was the oldest member. Folsom passed away in 1995.

Both authors were members of the Communist Party. Folsom's political leanings led him to write minority and outsider histories, while Elting, primarily a children's author, was a great supporter of minority and local writers.

Michael Folsom, son of Mary and Franklin, was born in New York City on November 22, 1938. He earned his B.A. in English at Antioch College, his M.A. in English at Rutgers University in 1963, and his Ph.D. in English from UC Berkeley in 1971. Folsom married Marcia McClintock in 1967, the same year he began teaching at MIT. He taught first in English, and later in Science, Technology, and Society and then Anthropology and Archaeology. Additionally, he began teaching American Studies and Anthropology at Brandeis in 1982. In 1980, Folsom founded the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham, Massachusetts, and in 1987, Folsom left teaching to work as a freelance designer of museum exhibits and as a public historian. Folsom passed away in 1990.

Rachel Folsom, Mary and Franklin's younger child, was born in New York City in 1944 and raised in Roosevelt, New Jersey. She attended Swarthmore College, followed by several years studying painting. After two years in Italy, she returned to the U.S. where she taught painting at Wheelock College, got married, and moved to Amherst, MA. A master's degree in nutrition followed, along with book collaborations with her mother and husband. For many years now she has focused on art, and is associated with a group called the Pioneer Valley Realists. Examples of her work, both written and painted, are included in the collection.

From the guide to the Folsom-Elting Collection (MS 246), 1862-2005, 1930-1995, (University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries. Special Collections Dept.)


Loading Relationships

Constellation Information

Ark ID:


  • Authors, American--20th century--Political and social views


not available for this record


not available for this record