Marquis James

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Marquis James (August 29, 1891, Springfield, Missouri – November 19, 1955) was an American journalist and author, twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his works The Raven: A Biography of Sam Houston and The Life of Andrew Jackson.

Early life and education[edit]

Marquis James was born on August 29, 1891 in Springfield, Missouri, the fifth child and only son of Houstin James (December 18, 1844, Pike Co., Ohio – August 18, 1908, Enid, Oklahoma), a lawyer, and Rachel Leo Marquis (July 14, 1848, Jay Co., Indiana – May 22, 1930, Enid, Oklahoma), a schoolteacher (daughter of Dr. James Marquis and Mary Cosner).[1] Houstin, a Civil War veteran, participated in both the Land run of 1889 and the Land Run of 1893.[1] While unsuccessful in 1889, Houstin successfully staked a claim southeast of Enid, Oklahoma in the 1893 run and moved his family there in 1894. Houstin died unexpectedly at age 64 in 1908, and is interred with his wife at Enid Cemetery.[2] Marquis James was educated at East Hill School and Central, and graduated Enid High School in 1910. He attended one year of college at Phillips University.


During high school Marquis James helped found the Quill, Enid's student newspaper.[3] He became a reporter for Enid Events at 14.[1] James worked for many of the local papers including Wave Democrat, Enid Morning News, and the Enid Daily Eagle.[1] He also sent Enid related articles to the Wichita Eagle and The Oklahoman.[4] Following high school he worked at various newspapers across the country, including as a rewrite editor for the New York Tribune in 1916.[4]

From 1916 to 1918, Marquis James appeared with short stories and serials in the Chicago Ledger.

James served as an Army captain in the First World War, in France from 1917-1919. Following his military service, he became National Director of Publicity for the American Legion and worked on the staff at the American Legion Monthly from 1923 to 1932.[4]

Personal life and death[edit]

James married fellow reporter Bessie Williams Rowland in 1914. The two collaborated on children's books based on James' Pulitzer Prize–winning biographies. They had one daughter, Cynthia. After 38 years of marriage, James and Rowland divorced in 1952. James married Jacqueline Mary Parsons in 1954.[3] Marquis James died suddenly at the age of sixty-four of a cerebral hemorrhage on November 19, 1955. He was working on a biography of Booker T. Washington at the time of his death. The Public Library of Enid and Garfield County dedicated the Marquis James room to him in 1964 which contains artifacts relating to James' life and career.


  • A History of the American Legion (1923)
  • The Raven: A Biography of Sam Houston (1929), for which he was awarded the 1930 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.[5]
  • Andrew Jackson: The Border Captain (Volume 1 of the life of Andrew Jackson) (1934)[6]
  • They Had Their Hour (1934)
  • Andrew Jackson: Portrait of a President (Volume 2 of the life of Andrew Jackson) (1937)[7]
  • The Life of Andrew Jackson (Combined Vols. 1 & 2 above) (1937), for which he was awarded the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography
  • Mr. Garner of Texas (1939)
  • Alfred I. DuPont, The Family Rebel (1941)
  • Biography of a Business, 1792-1942 (1943)
  • The Cherokee Strip: A Tale of an Oklahoma Boyhood (1945)
  • The Metropolitan Life: A Study in Business Growth (1947)
  • Merchant Adventurer: The Story of W.R. Grace (completed 1948, published 1993)
  • The Texaco Story, The First Fifty Years: 1902-1952 (1953)
  • Biography of a Bank: The Story of Bank of America, with his wife Bessie R. James (1954)

The New Yorker[edit]

James also contributed work to The New Yorker, occasionally using the pseudonym "Quid".[8]

Date Department Title Volume/Part Page(s) Subject(s)
February 21, 1925 Washington Notes 1/1 24
February 28, 1925 Profiles Princess Alice 1/2 9-10 Alice Roosevelt Longworth
February 28, 1925 Washington Notes 1/2 28
March 7, 1925 Washington Notes 1/3 31
May 27, 1950 Amplification Casey Jones, railroads, folklore
December 3, 1938 That was New York Astor Place Riot, Edward Z. C. Judson
February 6, 1926 Fiction Lawndale's winter sports
December 5, 1925 Fiction Lawndale's fast set
October 3, 1925 Fiction Crosstown
September 12, 1925 Fiction Essence of the Campaign
August 29, 1925 Fiction A Life Briefly Extolled Quid, an airdale dog.
July 18, 1925 Fiction Swampscott Correspondence
July 11, 1925 Dayton, Tennessee Scopes Trial
April 18, 1925 Fiction This Week's Award Mayor Hylan


  1. ^ a b c d Rockwell, Stella, ed., Garfield County, Oklahoma, 1907–1982, Vol. I, Garfield Historical Society, Josten's Publishing Company, Topeka, Kansas. 1982., pp. 330–331
  2. ^ Houstin James at findagrave
  3. ^ a b Vickery, Paul S., "James, Marquis (1891-1955)", Oklahoma Encyclopedia of History & Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society
  4. ^ a b c Brown, Gary, James Marquis Chronological Biography, Enid, 2004
  5. ^ Marquis James (1929-01-01). The Reven A Biography Of Sam Houston. The Bobbs-Merrill Company. 
  6. ^ James, Marquis (2007-03-01). Andrew Jackson - The Border Captain. Read Books. ISBN 9781406751925. 
  7. ^ James, Marquis (1937-01-01). Andrew Jackson: portrait of a president. Grosset & Dunlap. 
  8. ^ "Search". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-05-15. 

External links[edit]