Marion Holland

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Marion Holland
Marion Holland c. 1929
Marion Holland c. 1929
Born(1908-07-17)July 17, 1908
Washington, D.C., United States
DiedApril 8, 1989(1989-04-08) (aged 80)

Marion Holland (July 17, 1908 – April 6, 1989) was an American children's book writer and illustrator from Washington, D.C. Her best-known books were A Big Ball of String; No Children, No Pets; Billy Had a System; and The Secret Horse. A Big Ball of String (1958), which sold more than a million copies, was one of the six original Beginner Books published by Random House, along with The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Born on July 17, 1908, in Washington, D.C., Holland graduated from Central High School and Swarthmore College. She had five children. Her first marriage, to Evaristo Murray, ended in divorce.[2] They had a daughter, Barbara Holland, who also became a writer. Holland had four children with her second husband, Thomas W. Holland: Nicholas Holland, Judith Clarke, Rebecca Snyder, and Andrew Holland.[3]


Holland illustrated most of her books, often using her children as models. Her reminiscences about growing up in the Washington area were published in The Washington Post[4] and The Washington Star, and she often corresponded with Post columnist William Raspberry.[5] "It was uncanny how often Marion Holland's letters seemed to come precisely when I was stuck for a column idea," Raspberry wrote. "It was in her letters that her trenchant wit and sardonic wisdom came to the fore."[6]

Holland died of cancer on April 6, 1989, in Washington, D.C.[7]


  • Billy Had a System. Alfred A. Knopf. 1952.
  • Billy's Clubhouse. Alfred A. Knopf. 1955.
  • No Children, No Pets. Alfred A. Knopf. 1956.
  • A Tree for Teddy/The Christmas Tree Crisis. Scholastic Books. 1977 [Alfred A. Knopf: 1957].
  • A Big Ball of String. Random House. 1993 [1958]. ISBN 978-0394900056.
  • No Room for a Dog. Random House. 1959.
  • Muggsy. Alfred A. Knopf. 1959.
  • The Secret Horse. Scholastic Paperbacks. 1988 [Little, Brown: 1959]. ISBN 978-0590417969.
  • Teddy's Camp-Out. Alfred A. Knopf. 1963.
  • Billy's Raccoon. Science Research Associates. 1963.
  • Casey Jones Rides Vanity. Little, Brown. 1964.


  1. ^ "Children's Author-Illustrator Marion Hall Holland Dies at 81". The Washington Post. April 8, 1989.
  2. ^ "7 Swarthmore Girls Engaged to Marry". The New York Times. May 31, 1929.
  3. ^ "T.W. Holland, Veteran of U.S. Agencies, Dies". The Washington Post. May 17, 1984.
  4. ^ Marion Hall Holland and Lois Hall Roberts (June 17, 1977). "Car-Hop Memoirs". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ William Raspberry (January 2, 1984). "Great Books and Stumble-Bums". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ William Raspberry (April 14, 1989). "Marion Holland's Letters". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ "Children's Author-Illustrator Marion Hall Holland Dies at 81". The Washington Post. April 8, 1989.