Marion Cothren

Marion Benedict Cothren (1880–1949) was an American suffrage and peace activist, lawyer, and children's author.

Marion Cothren
Marion Benedict Cothren 1918.jpg
Marion Benedict Cothren, 1918
Marion Benedict

1880 (1880)
Brooklyn, New York
Died1949 (aged 68–69)
Alma materVassar College, Columbia University
OccupationWriter, Attorney, Suffragist
Frank Howard Cothren
m. 1904⁠–⁠1914)
his death

Early life and educationEdit

Marion Benedict was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by her parents William Marsh Benedict (a lawyer) and Grace Dillingham Benedict (a Vassar alumna). Marion was a 1900 graduate of Vassar College and pursued teacher training at Columbia University (MA 1901). She was admitted to the New York bar in 1909.[1][2]


Marion Cothren went to Europe during World War I to work with the International Red Cross at Toul, France, an experience she credited with confirming her pacifism: "When I finally left France I took with me not only the pacifist's theoretical hatred of war, but a hatred born of an overwhelming sympathy for those who warred."[3]

Marion B. Cothren was a member of the College Equal Suffrage League, the New York chapter of the Women's Trade Union League, and Heterodoxy, a feminist debating club based in Greenwich Village, among other clubwork. She was on the National Advisory Council of the National Woman's Party, one of the honorary chairs of the Woman's Peace Party when it was founded in 1915, and was one of the thirty American women to attend the International Congress of Women at the Hague that same year.[4][5][6] Cothren was also a vocal supporter of Margaret Sanger,[7] and served as president of the New York Women's Publishing Company, the publisher of Birth Control Review, from 1918 to 1923.[8]

Marion Cothren's writings for children included Cher Ami: The Story of a Carrier Pigeon (1934),[9] The Adventures of Dudley and Guilderoy (1941),[10] Pigeon Heroes: Birds of War and Messengers of Peace (1944),[11] Buried Treasure: The Story of America's Coal (1945),[12]This is the Moon (1946),[13] and Pictures of France by her Children (published posthumously, 1950).[14] She also wrote The ABC of Voting, A Handbook of Government and Politics for the Women of New York State (1918) to instruct new female voters.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Marion Benedict married lawyer Frank Howard Cothren in 1904. They had one daughter, Frances (later Mrs. J. Roy Fuller). Marion Cothren was widowed in 1914 when her husband, who had been ill, overdosed on morphine.[16][17] During the 1930s, she lived with sculptor Janet Scudder in Paris. She moved back to the US in 1940.[18]

She died in 1949, age 69, accidentally falling from a cliff in Maine.[19]


  1. ^ "Marion Benedict Cothren," Woman's Who's Who of America, 1914-15 (American Commonwealth Company 1914): 208.
  2. ^ "Mrs. Cothren Wins, Quizzes Policeman," Brooklyn Daily Eagle (June 17, 1916): 2. via  
  3. ^ Marion B. Cothren, "An American Woman at the Front: Impressions of a Red Cross Worker Who Found War Very Different from What She had Imagined," New York Times (March 2, 1919): 72.
  4. ^ "New York Women Unite for Peace," New York Times (February 20, 1915): 6.
  5. ^ "Tells of Suffs' Peace Work: Mrs. Marion Cothren Talks on Hearing in Washington," Brooklyn Daily Eagle (December 15, 1916): 11. via  
  6. ^ Jane Addams, Emily G. Balch, and Alice Hamilton, Women at the Hague: The International Congress of Women and its Results (University of Illinois Press 2003).
  7. ^ "Halt Poverty Births Says Mrs. Cothren," Brooklyn Daily Eagle (January 17, 1916): 18. via  
  8. ^ "Birth Control Review," About Sanger Project, New York University.
  9. ^ Marc Mappen, There's More to New Jersey than the Sopranos (Rutgers University Press 2009): 133. ISBN 0813548446
  10. ^ Marion B. Cothren, The Adventures of Dudley and Guilderoy (Faber & Faber, 1941).
  11. ^ Marion Benedict Cothren, Pigeon Heroes: Birds of War and Messengers of Peace (Coward-McCann 1944).
  12. ^ Marion B. Cothren, Buried Treasure: The Story of America's Coal (Coward-McCann 1945).
  13. ^ Marion B. Cothren, This is the Moon (Coward-McCann 1946).
  14. ^ Marion Benedict Cothren, Pictures of France by her Children (New York 1950)
  15. ^ Marion B. Cothren, The ABC of Voting, a Handbook of Government and Politics for the Women of New York State (Century Company 1918).
  16. ^ "Frank Cothren Found Dead in Home," Brooklyn Daily Eagle (May 30, 1914): 16. via  
  17. ^ "To Probate Will of Frank H. Cothren," Brooklyn Daily Eagle (November 24, 1914): 20. via  
  18. ^ "Kiwanians Hear Marion Cothren," Raleigh Register (March 28, 1943): 9. via  
  19. ^ "Marion Cothren (1880 – October 2, 1949)". The Berkshire Eagle (3 Oct 1949, Mon): 1. 1949. Retrieved 21 January 2020.