Marquis James

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

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] James also contributed work to The New Yorker, occasionally using the pseudonym "Quid".[5]

Personal life and death

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.


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  1. 1 2 3 4 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. 1 2 Vickery, Paul S., "James, Marquis (1891-1955)", Oklahoma Encyclopedia of History & Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society
  4. 1 2 3 Brown, Gary, James Marquis Chronological Biography, Enid, 2004
  5. "Search". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  6. Marquis James (1929-01-01). The Reven A Biography Of Sam Houston. The Bobbs-Merrill Company.
  7. James, Marquis (2007-03-01). Andrew Jackson - The Border Captain. Read Books. ISBN 9781406751925.
  8. James, Marquis (1937-01-01). Andrew Jackson: portrait of a president. Grosset & Dunlap.
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