Harris, Marguerite Tjader, 1901-1986

Alternative names
Birth 1901-11-24
Death 1986-04-07
English, French

Biographical notes:

Marguerite Tjader was born Nov. 24, 1901 in New York City, the daughter of Richard Tjader, a big game hunter, explorer, and evangelist, and Margaret (Thorne) Tjader, daughter of the financier Samuel Thorne. She attended Bryn Mawr College and Columbia University, where she received the A.B. degree in 1925. Her marriage to Overton Harris ended in divorce in 1933. Their son, Hilary (1929-1999), became a documentary filmmaker, receiving an Oscar in 1962 for his direction of 'Seaward the great ships'. From 1937 until 1945 Mrs. Harris edited 'Direction', the left-wing journal of the arts she founded with the support of Theodore Dreiser. She had met Dreiser at a dinner party in 1928 and their intimate relationship continued off and on until 1944 when he finally married Helen Patges Richardson, his companion of almost 30 years. In 1944 Mrs. Harris and her son moved to Los Angeles where she became one in a long succession of Dreiser editorial assistants. In addition to typing and editing drafts of his work she acted as a sort of 'spiritual advisor' to Dreiser while he completed his penultimate novel 'The bulwark', published posthumously in 1946. Marguerite Tjader Harris is probably the model for the title character of 'Lucia', one of the fictional sketches in Dreiser's 'A gallery of women', published in 1929. During the 1930's, presumably after the dissolution of her marriage, Mrs. Harris, who had been raised a Baptist, converted to Roman Catholicism. In the 1950's she helped Mother Elisabeth Hesselblad establish the U.S. foundation of of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour of Saint Bridget (Bridgettines) by donating Vikingsborg, her family's summer home in Darien, Conn., to the order. She died on April 7, 1986 in East Windsor, Conn.

From the description of The Marguerite Tjader Harris papers, circa 1930-1968. (Georgetown University). WorldCat record id: 182810769


Loading Relationships

Constellation Information

Ark ID:


  • Art, Modern 20th century Periodicals
  • Literature, Modern--20th century--Periodicals
  • Manuscripts, American


not available for this record


  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)