Marquand, John P. (John Phillips), 1893-1960

Alternative names
Birth 1893-11-10
Death 1960-07-16

Biographical notes:

Marquand was an American novelist and short story writer best known for his novels of upper class New England life and for his stories of the fictional detective Mr. Moto.

From the description of Correspondence, 1892-1960. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122468968

From the description of Compositions, 1892-1951. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 83157834

From the guide to the John Phillips Marquand correspondence, 1892-1960., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

From the guide to the John P. Marquand compositions, 1892-1951., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Author John P. Marquand was born in upper-class circumstances, a descendent of notable New England bloodlines. Although his family became financially challenged when he was young, he graduated from Harvard thanks to scholarships. He had some success working as a journalist and copywriter, and experienced combat in World War I. After the war he began publishing popular and acclaimed novels and short stories; he was perhaps best known as a novelist of manners, satirizing the American upper-class, and also wrote a series of popular and influential espionage novels featuring Japanese secret agent Mr. Moto. He was one of the most popular and admired writers of his generation, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937.

From the description of John P. Marquand letter to John A. Giles, 1947 Jan. 10. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 61691254

John Phillips Marquand, American writer, was born on November 10, 1893. His major works include The Late George Aspley (1937), Wickford Point (1939), H. M. Pulham, Esquire (1941), and Melville Goodwin, USA (1951). He died in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on July 16, 1960.

From the description of John P. Marquand collection, 1922-1973 (inclusive) 1930-1960 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702131704


From the description of Reminiscences of John P. Marquand : oral history, 1955. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122343102

John Phillips Marquand, leading American writer of the twentieth century, was born on November 10, 1893, to Philip and Margaret Fuller Marquand, both descendants of old New England families. Although he was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and lived in Rye, New York, until he was fourteen, Marquand considered himself a New Englander. He was educated at the Newburyport (Massachusetts) High School and at Harvard University, from which he was graduated in 1915. From 1915 to 1917, he was assistant magazine editor of the Boston Transcript . After a brief period as advertising copywriter in 1920 and 1921, he became a novelist and published The Unspeakable Gentleman (1922). Marquand was a frequent contributor of short stories to several popular magazines of the day, most notably The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, Collier's, and Good Housekeeping . Many of his novels were also serialized in shortened form in these magazines.

A recurring theme in many of Marquand's works concerns the life and times of the middle and upper classes in twentieth-century New England--particularly Boston--as illustrated in The Late George Apley (1937), Wickford Point (1939), and H. M. Pulham, Esquire (1941). Marquand also wrote several mysteries featuring the Oriental detective Mr. Moto. Film versions of the Mr. Moto mysteries enjoyed great popularity. Marquand's writings were widely received and sold well. In addition, many of his works were successfully adapted for stage and screen.

In 1922, Marquand married Christina Sedgwick. From this marriage, which lasted thirteen years, a son and a daughter were born. In 1936, Marquand married Adelaide Hooker. Two sons and a daughter were born of this union, which also ended in divorce in 1958.

John P. Marquand died in his sleep of a heart attack on July 16, 1960 in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

From the guide to the John P. Marquand collection, 1922-1973 (inclusive), 1930-1960, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • American literature--20th century
  • Male authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Authors and publishers
  • Book selection
  • Authors, American--Biography
  • Literary agents
  • College students
  • Authors and readers
  • Book Clubs (Discussion Groups)
  • American literature--19th century
  • Authors--Interviews
  • School children


  • Authors--Massachusetts
  • Literary agents--United States


  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts (as recorded)
  • Boston (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • New England (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New England (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Newburyport (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Boston (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Newburyport (Mass.) (as recorded)