Agnes Sligh Turnbull

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Agnes Sligh Turnbull
Born(1888-10-14)October 14, 1888
New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, United States
DiedJanuary 31, 1982(1982-01-31) (aged 93)
Livingston, New Jersey, United States
OccupationAuthor, Novelist

Agnes Sligh Turnbull (October 14, 1888, New Alexandria, Pennsylvania – January 31, 1982, Livingston, New Jersey) was a bestselling American writer, most noted for her works of historical fiction based in her native Western Pennsylvania.


Her parents were Alexander Halliday Sligh, an immigrant from Scotland, and Lucinda Hannah McConnell, also of Scottish descent. She attended the village school, and went on to boarding school before enrolling at the Teachers College at what is now called Indiana University of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She also attended the University of Chicago before starting her career as a high school English teacher.

In 1918, she married James Lyall Turnbull, just before his departure for Europe during World War I. He returned, and they were married for 40 years and had one child, a daughter named Martha. The family moved to Maplewood, New Jersey in 1922, where she lived for the rest of her life.[1]

Turnbull had her first short story published by The American Magazine in 1920, and published further short stories regularly until 1936, when she published her first novel, The Rolling Years. While some critics regarded the morality of her writing as old-fashioned, she and others attributed it to a hopeful outlook on life.

She is buried in New Alexandria, Pennsylvania.



  • In The Garden. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1926
  • The Wife of Pontius Pilate. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1928
  • The Colt That Carried A King. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1933
  • Once To Shout. New York: Macmillan, 1943
  • Little Christmas. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964


Collection of short stories[edit]

  • This Spring of Love. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1924
  • Far Above Rubies. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1926
  • The Four Marys. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1932
  • Old Home Town. New York: Fleming H.Revell, 1933

Juvenile works[edit]

  • Elijah the Fish-bite. New York: Macmillan, 1940.
  • Jed, the Shepherd's Dog. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957.
  • George. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964.
  • The White Lark. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968.


  • Dear Me: Leaves from the Diary of Agnes Sligh Turnbull. New York: Macmillan, 1941.
  • Out Of My Heart. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1958


  1. ^ Waggoner, Walter H. "AGNES TURNBULL, NOVELIST, 93, DIES", The New York Times, February 2, 1982. Accessed October 24, 2007. "Agnes Sligh Turnbull, a popular and prolific novelist and shortstory writer, died Sunday at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. She was 93 years old and had lived in Maplewood, N.J., for 60 years."


  • Alan Jalowitz's biographical sketch of Agnes Turnbull at Pennsylvania Center of the Book
  • Edward K. Halula, Seaside, Oregon 97138
  • Halula, Edward K., "Old Home Town", The Sentinel, October 2002.
  • Halula, Edward K., "A Nightingale Sang: A Story About Agnes Sligh Turnbull",The Sentinel, Feb. 2003.
  • Halula, Edward K., "Two 'Girls' From New Alex", The Sentinel, June 2003.