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At a Glance
Selected materials cataloged. Remainder listed and arranged.
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, manuscripts, documents, photographs, art works, memorabilia, and printed material created by and belonging to journalist, magazine editor, socialite, and social reformer Marie Mattingly Meloney (1878-1943). The bulk of the correspondence dates from 1920 until 1943, the years during which Meloney edited The Delineator, the New York Herald Tribune Sunday Magazine, and This Week magazine. The letters cover a wide field of interests and include correspondence from cabinet ministers, diplomats, jurists, authors, journalists, editors, educators, soldiers, and socialites. There are letters from Sherwood Anderson, Irving Bacheller, James M. Barrie, Max Beerbohm, Arnold Bennett, Gutzon Borglum, Willa Cather, Jo Davidson, Walter De la Mare, Alfred Douglas, Lord Dunsany, Robert Frost, John Galsworthy, Rudyard Kipling, D.H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis, Wyndham Lewis, Walter Lippmann, Somerset Maugham, A.A. Milne, Charles and Kathleen Norris, Alfred Noyes, Frances Perkins, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Bertrand Russell, Eleanor Roosevelt, Carlo Sforza, Booth Tarkington, Ernst Toller, H.M. Tomlinson, and H.G. Wells. In addition to manuscripts of Meloney's own writings, the collection contains manuscripts of Louis Bromfield, G.K. Chesterton, Walter De la Mare, John Drinkwater, Havelock Ellis, Richard Le Gallienne, Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes, and Leo Tolstoy. Finally, the collection includes photographs of Meloney, her friends and family, and a group of pencil sketches and prints by the artists E.H. Suydam and Samuel Johnson Woolf.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
The following boxes are located off-site: Box 32-40. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Readers must use microfilm of materials specified above.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Marie Mattingly Meloney papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Marie Mattingly Meloney Collection on Marie Curie: A collection of correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, printed material, and memorabilia related to Meloney's fundraising work to purchase radium for Curie's experiments.
No additions expected.
Alternate Form Available
Pearl S. Buck letters are on: microfilm.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Meloney, Mrs. and Mrs, William Brown, V. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1964. Accession number--M-64.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 08/--/89.
2022-06-23 PDF finding aid replaced with EAD by CLB.
2022-09-23 Oversize materials inventoried and added to finding aid by CLB.
2022-09-26 Finding aid notes expanded and updated by CLB.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Marie "Missy" Mattingly Meloney (1878-1943) was a magazine editor, journalist, socialite, and moderate social reformer. She edited The Delineator, 1920-1926; the New York Herald Tribune Sunday Magazine, 1926-1934; and This Week magazine, 1934-1943.
Marie Mattingly was born in Bardstown, Kentucky on December 8, 1878, to Cyprian Peter and Sarah Irwin Mattingly. Sarah was a journalist, founding editor of the Kentucky Magazine, and president of the Washington College for Girls. Peter was a physician. Marie was privately educated. After a horseback riding accident at age 15 ended her childhood ambition of becoming a concert pianist, she began a career in journalism. She covered the Republican National Convention for the Washington Post in 1895, became the Denver Post's Washington correspondent in 1897, and worked as a reporter for the New York World in 1900 and the New York Sun from 1900-1904. She temporarily retired from journalism upon her marriage to William Brown Meloney IV in 1904, but returned to work in 1913. She became the editor of Woman's Magazine in 1914, and took the helm of The Delineator in 1920.
Among Meloney's journalistic achievements were breaking the news of Spanish-American war hero Admiral George Dewey's wedding in 1899, being granted a rare interview with Marie Curie in 1920, and interviewing Benito Mussolini on four separate occasions. When Mussolini's mistress, the journalist and art critic Margherita Sarfatti, visited New York in 1934, Meloney hosted a party in Sarfatti's honor. In the 1930s, Meloney turned down an interview with Adolf Hitler, after the führer failed to appear for a previously scheduled meeting with Meloney.
Meloney used her platform as magazine editor to champion causes including Marie Curie's scientific research, home ownership and beautification, and government sponsorship of health and nutritional guidelines. In 1920, following an interview with Marie Curie for The Delineator, Meloney organized a national fundraising drive to purchase radium for Curie's laboratory. In 1922, in response to a housing shortage following World War I, she launched the Better Homes in America movement, which encouraged homeownership, construction of affordable homes, and modernization and beautification of existing homes. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover served as president of the Advisory Council of Better Homes in America's board of directors, while Meloney served as the board's vice president or secretary throughout the 1920s. In 1926, at Meloney's urging, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored a conference to develop guidance on optimal weight ranges for adults, based on height and age, as well as safe methods to lose and gain weight. The Delineator received a large volume of letters from readers describing unsafe methods for weight loss in order to achieve the 1920s' fashionably thin body type. The magazine's investigation on the topic found that the only official guidance available came from a set of Army charts dating from the Spanish American War.
Meloney received various honors during her lifetime. She took a personal interest in rebuilding Europe following World War I. The Belgian government awarded her the Médaille de Charleroi for her work on behalf of Belgian children, the Ordre de la Reine Elisabeth for her service to the Belgian cause in the United States, and the Order of the Crown of Belgium. The French government awarded her the Médaille d'Or for her work in the Better Homes Movement, and, at Marie Curie's request, made her an officer of the Legion of Honor in 1927. The Polish government awarded her the Order of Polonia Restituta for her fundraising work on Marie Curie's behalf. A Liberty Ship named in her honor was launched in August 1943, two months after her death.
Meloney was also a close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1934, as First Lady, Roosevelt joined New York City Better Homes committee chair Meloney for a national radio broadcast of the dedication of a model home located on Park Avenue and 39th Street which demonstrated the movement's values. When Meloney died in 1943, Roosevelt memorialized her in her June 29 "My Day" syndicated newspaper column.
Marie Mattingly and William Brown Meloney IV had one child, William Brown Meloney V, in 1905. William Brown Meloney IV died in 1925. Marie Mattingly Meloney died of complications from influenza at her home in Pawling, New York, on June 23, 1943. A New York Times editorial published two days after her death called her "one of the pioneers of the triumph of women in the newspaper field."