Margaret Larkin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Margaret Larkin
Born July 7, 1899
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Died May 7, 1967
Mexico City, Mexico
Occupation writer, poet, singer-songwriter, researcher, and union activist
Nationality American
Period 1922-1967
Genre fiction, non-fiction
Notable works The Hand of Mordechai
Seven shares in a Gold Mine
Singing Cowboy
Notable awards Kansas Authors' Club Poetry Prize
David Belasco Cup
Samuel French Prize
Spouse Liston Oak
Albert Maltz
Relatives Mira Larkin

Margaret Larkin (July 7, 1899 – May 7, 1967) was an American writer, poet, singer-songwriter, researcher, journalist and union activist.

She wrote The Hand of Mordechai on a kibbutz in Israel and its stand against the Egyptian Army in 1948, Seven Shares in a Gold Mine about a murder conspiracy in Mexico, and the Singing Cowboy, a collection of Western folk songs.[1] She won awards for her poem Goodbye—To My Mother and her play El Cristo.


Larkin was born on July 7, 1899 in Las Vegas, New Mexico to parents from English and Scottish descent.[2] She studied at the University of Kansas.[3] In 1922 she won the Poetry Prize of the Kansas Author Club.

After moving to the East Coast, she married Liston Oak and became a trade union activist.[3] In 1926 she wrote the titles of the silent film The Passaic Textile Strike.[4] In the thirties she was active as a singer/songwriter and composer of folk songs.[3]

After divorcing her first husband she met writer Albert Maltz in 1935. Maltz was 9 years younger. They married in 1937.[3] Maltz was blacklisted as one of the Hollywood Ten due to his refusal to tell the House Un-American Activities Committee whether he was a member of the American Communist Party.[2][3]

Larkin, her husband, and their two children moved to Mexico City in 1951.[2] In 1964 they were officially divorced, after Maltz had already returned to the United States.[2][5]

Larkin assisted anthropologist Oscar Lewis in the research and writing of La Vida - A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture Of Poverty (1966).[3] Her last book was The Hand of Mordechai, on kibbutz Yad Mordechai around the Israeli War of Independence. It was published in Hebrew (1966), Yiddish (1967), English (1968), German (1970), and Russian (197?). The Israeli edition was published by Ma'arachot (מערכות), official publishing house of the Israeli Defense Forces, with a preface by General Haim Laskov. Larkin was represented by literary agent Barthold Fles.[3]

She died in Mexico City on May 7, 1967, aged 67.[3] Her granddaughter, Mira Larkin, is an actress and production manager.[6]




  • 1922 - "Goodbye—To My Mother" in The Poets of the Future, A College Anthology for 1921-1922: 156
  • 1924 - "Four Poems", The Midlands 10: 385.




  • 1922 - Best Poem submitted to the Kansas Authors' Club[8] for Goodbye—To My Mother
  • 1926 - David Belasco Cup for El Cristo
  • 1926 - Samuel French Prize for El Cristo


  1. ^ Reuss, JoAnne (2000). American folk music and left wing politics, 1927-1957. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-8108-3684-6. Retrieved 2009-07-30. In 1931, she published some of the songs she heard in the West in Singing Cowboy, which is still viewed by scholars as an important collection. 
  2. ^ a b c d Wald, Alan (2007). Trinity of Passion: The Literary Left and the Antifascist Crusade. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 81–83. ISBN 0-8078-3075-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Margaret Larkin, writer, 67, dead". New York Times May 11, 1967.
  4. ^ "Detail view of Movies Page". Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  5. ^ Trinity of passion: the literary ... 1929-10-09. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  6. ^ Internet media database
  7. ^ Riggs, Lynn (1931-12-16). "High, Wide, and Handsome". The Nation. 133 (3467): 674. ISSN 0027-8378. 
  8. ^ "As long as the lamp holds out to burn". The Graduate magazine of the University of Kansas. 20. May 1922. p. 29. Margaret Larkin, '23, won the $100 prize for the best poem of the year submitted to the Kansas Authors' club. 

External links[edit]