Wilson, Dorothy Clarke

Alternative names
Birth 1904
Death 2003

Biographical notes:

Dorothy Clarke Wilson is an author from Orono, Maine. Graduated from Bates College in 1925. She has written 25 books in addition to numerous other stories, lectures, essays, poems, and plays.

From the description of Papers 1918-1993. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 778701377

Dorothy Clarke Wilson, 98, died March 26th, 2003 after a brief illness at an Orono nursing home. She was born on May 9, 1904, in Gardiner, a daughter of Rev. Lewis H. and Flora Cross Clarke. She was predeceased by her husband of 66 years, Rev. Elwin L. Wilson, on March 31, 1992. She was also predeceased by her son, Harold on Dec. 29, 1977. Mrs. Wilson was valedictorian of her graduating class at Cony High School in Augusta. She entered Bates College at the age of 17, and there had two life-changing experiences. One was meeting her beloved husband, Elwin, a fellow student. The other was winning an essay contest her senior year on Arbitration Instead of War, which focused her outlook on social issues and sparked her lifelong interest in peace activism. Mrs. Wilson was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates in 1925 and married Elwin a few weeks later, on August 31st. The couple lived for a year in Princeton, New Jersey. Dorothy's professional writing career began in 1928, when a play she had written for Elwin's parish was accepted for publication. She was a prolific author who has published 25 books and scores of essays, stories, poems, and plays, with a special focus on biographies and religious novels and plays. Her books have appealed to generations of American and international readers. Prince of Egypt (1949), perhaps her best-known work, sold more than 500,000 copies in paperback. It won the Westminster prize of $7,500.00 as the best religious novel of its year, and was a primary source for the film The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Also well-known are her biographies of important women, including Dorothea Dix, Elizabeth Blackwell, Alice and Edith Roosevelt, Dolly Madison, and Martha Washington. Mrs. Wilson wrote about missionaries and lepers, doctors and reformers, and people with disabilities. One of her best-loved books, The Big-Little World of Doc Pritham, is about life in rural Maine. Her novels and plays have been translated and reprinted into Chinese, German, Arabic, Indonesian, Dutch, French, Danish, Thai, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Malayalam. Some of her works have been condensed by the Readers Digest and Guideposts, which assured them a broad readership. Mrs. Wilson was almost as well traveled as her words, having visited Palestine, India, Egypt, Mexico, and England. She presented almost 1200 illustrated lectures about her books. Over her long life, Mrs. Wilson received many honors, including the honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from Bates College in 1947, and from the University of Maine in 1984. She received the Maryann Hartman Award from the University of Maine in 1988; the Deborah Morton Award from Westbrook College in Portland in 1989; the New England United Methodist Award for Excellence in Social Justice Ministry in 1975; the Woman of Distinction Award of Alpha Delta Kappa in 1971; the Award for Distinguished Achievement from the University of Maine at Augusta in 1977; and the Achievement Award from the American Association of University Women, Maine Division, as outstanding author, champion of individual freedom and tireless worker for social justice and positive societal change in 1988. Because of her abiding interest in peace, both in her community and in the greater world, Orono High School and University of Maine students are now awarded Dorothy Clarke Wilson Peace Award.

From the description of Dorothy Clarke Wilson collection, 1926-1989. (University of New England). WorldCat record id: 175297716


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Ark ID:


  • Christian fiction
  • Women and peace
  • Authors, American
  • Pacifism


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