Flint, Margaret (1891 - 1961)

Genre: General Fiction

Margaret Flint was born at Orono, Maine, to Helen Leavitt and Walter Flint, a professor at the University of Maine. She spent her childhood in Orono, but moved to Port Deposit, Maryland, where she attended high school and served as class president all four years. She entered the University of Maine, attending classes there for three years until her marriage to Lester Warner Jacobs.

Flint's husband's work for the Army Corps of Engineers took them to Norfolk, Virginia, where she obtained a roll-top desk that served as her writing center. The family, which eventually included six children (including daughter Eleanor Jacobs Mitchell, who died in 1999), moved to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and Slidell, Louisiana. Her first novel, The Old Ashburn Place, earned a national prize for best novel of the year in 1937.

Flint's success was severely offset by the loss that same year of her husband to the long-term effects of WWI gassing. The cash prize of $10,000, however, enabled her to move the family back to Maine, a dream the couple had been cherishing. She renovated the former Pequawket Inn in West Baldwin, in an area which had been land-granted to her father's family after the French and Indian War.

Eight more novels and a flood of newspaper articles followed, but she never achieved her goal of self-sufficiency as a writer. People of all ages and backgrounds were attracted to her quiet hospitality, usually afternoon tea before the fire or bean supper on the porch. During WWII she was honored as a 5-star Mother. Her correspondence to and from these five children in the armed services formed the novel Dress Right, Dress.

Flint was active in social and civic affairs, taking notes for characters and dramatic scenes during town and Grange meetings. Some of these sketches are among her papers preserved in the library at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

As a novelist, her forte was psychological insights into family and neighborhood relationships. She was also noted for her ability to convey the speech patterns of the small region between Sebago Lake and the New Hampshire border, the setting for most of her stories. Her essays on family life, the character of Maine, and on national events as they impacted local life appeared regularly in several Maine newspapers and in The Christian Science Monitor. A life-long member of the Christian Science church, she also wrote inspirational articles for the church's periodicals.

Selected Bibliography

  • The Old Ashburn Place (1936): Novel of bucolic Maine life
  • Valley of Decision (1937)
  • Deacon's Road (1938)
  • Breakneck Brook (1939)
  • Back O' the Mountain (1940)
  • Down the Road A Piece (1941)
  • October Fires (1941)
  • Enduring Riches (1942)
  • Dress Right, Dress: The Autobiography of a WAC (1943)

Selected Resources

Note: This biography of Margaret Flint Jacobs was prepared by her granddaughter, Sara Mitchell Barnacle, former librarian at Waldoboro, Maine.