Beam, Lura (1887 - 1978)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction - Scholarly

Lura Beam -- teacher, researcher, and writer -- was born in Marshfield, Maine, near Machias in Washington County, and graduated from the local high school in 1904. Her first two years of college were spent at the University of California, Berkeley. She then transferred to Barnard College, from which she graduated in 1908. For the next three years she taught in southern black schools that were directed by the American Missionary Association. Beam then became an administrator for the Association. She earned an M.A. from Columbia in 1917.

Her entire career of teaching, research, administration and writing was spent in the non-profit area. Other organizations where Beam was employed include the Interchurch World Movement, the Committee on Maternal Health/Maternity Research Council, the Association of American Colleges, and the American Association of University Women.

When Beam worked for the Committee on Maternal Health/Maternity Research Council in the 1920s, she met Louise Stevens Bryant, a social welfare/public health specialist who lived in Bronxville, NY. The two women remained committed friends and companions until Bryant's death in 1957. Often the two women spent their summer vacations in Marshfield. Bryant, fascinated by small town life, encouraged Beam to write the book for which she is best known in Maine.

Selected Bibliography

  • A Maine Hamlet. First published in 1957 to little notice, the book was republished in the mid-1980s and a new edition was published in 2000 in connection with the book The Mirror of Maine: One Hundred Books that Reveal the History of the State and The Life of its People.
  • A Thousand Marriages; a Medical Study of Sex Adjustment (1931/1970; with Robert Latou Dickinson)
  • The Single Woman: a Medical Study in Sex Education (1934/1987; with Robert Latou Dickinson)
  • Bequest From a Life; a Biography of Louise Stevens Bryant (1963)
  • He Called Them by the Lightning; a Teacher's Odyssey in the Negro South, 1908-1919 (1967), a monograph

Selected Resources