Margaret Warner Morley

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Cover of Donkey John of the toy valley. Chicago A. C. McClurg & Co. 1909

Margaret Warner Morley (February 17, 1858 in Montrose, Iowa - December 12, 1923 in Washington, D.C.) was an American educator, biologist and writer, author of many books on nature and biology for children and novel writer.


Morley grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Hunter College in New York. Morley was a suffragette. She worked as an educator in several schools but her career of teacher was overshadowed by her books.[1]

As early as 1890 she visited Tryon, North Carolina with the painter Amelia Watson where she resided in the cottage of playwright William Gillette. She finally acquired her own home in Tryon where she lived for many years.

In one of her many trips she went to Europe to the Val Gardena the valley of toy carvers where she was inspired to write the novel Donkey John of the toy valley.

Some of her documents are held at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The collection consists of travel logs and sketchbooks of rural North Carolina, and book manuscripts.

The North Carolina Museum of History owns a collection of the 244 original photographs that Morley donated to the museum in 1914.[2]


Drawings by Morley from the original Val Gardena toys from Donkey John of the Toy Valley:


  • Song of Life 1891
  • Physical culture 1893
  • Flowers and Their Friends 1897
  • A few familiar flowers: how to love them at home or in school 1897
  • Seed babies 1898
  • Little Wanderers 1899
  • Down north and up along 1900
  • Wasps and their ways 1901
  • Insect Folk 1903 [3]
  • Little Mitchell, the Story of a Mountain Squirrel 1904
  • The Renewal of Life: How and When to Tell the Story to the Young 1906 [4]
  • Donkey John of the toy valley. Chicago A. C. McClurg & Co. 1909 [5]
  • Grasshopper Land 1910
  • The Carolina Mountains, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co (1913)[6]
  • Will o' the wasps 1913
  • The Bee People 1914
  • the Apple-Tree Sprite 1915


Further reading[edit]

  • MacCue, Michael J. (2001). "Margaret Morley". Tryon Artists: 1892–1942. Columbus, NC: Condar Press. OCLC 48243035. 

External links[edit]