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Just Mary by Mary Grannan

Just Mary: Stories, Mary Grannan

Mary Grannan

Mary Grannan was born on 11 February 1900 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the second of three daughters of William and Catherine (Haney) Grannan. William, who was of Irish Catholic descent, was a wheelwright by trade and eventually became Captain of the No. 2 Hose Company of the Fredericton Fire Department; his wife, Catherine, oversaw her children’s upbringing and the running of the family home. At a young age, Grannan’s artistic creativity was greatly influenced by her father, who was fond of drawing and reading, and her mother, who was a rich source of humour and storytelling. Grannan received her education at St. Dunstan’s and Fredericton High School, and then later attended the Provincial Normal School where she graduated in 1917 with a teaching degree. After teaching for several years at the Devon Superior School outside Fredericton, where she entertained her classes with lively stories, Grannan began writing plays and skits for school productions. She was involved in the St. Dunstan’s Dramatic Society and further explored her artistic nature by travelling to Boston in 1927 to study art at the Vesper George School of Art. Upon her return to New Brunswick, she entered work in the local exhibition and supplied political cartoons to The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton's daily newspaper.

Grannan was first introduced to radio in 1935 when the Canadian Teacher’s Federation used radio broadcasting as a part of the first National Education Week. The fledgling radio station CFNB, started by brothers Stewart and John Neill, broadcasted a programme using two local teachers—Gertrude Davis and Grannan. The popularity of the programmes Musical Scrapbook (1936) and Aggravating Agatha (1936) grew, and Grannan began writing twice-weekly scripts. Grannan continued writing part-time for the radio show while maintaining her teaching position until 1937. In that year, Grannan and Neill began broadcasting Just Mary, another children’s radio show that became an instant success. Shortly after, in early 1939, she was offered a position at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Grannan then moved to Toronto to write and broadcast children’s programmes for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio and Television between 1939 and 1962. In all, she wrote twenty series during her career; her most popular works, Just Mary and Mary Muggins (1947), were some of the best-known children’s programmes of their time in Canada. Just Mary ran on national CBC stations every Sunday afternoon for twenty-three years. Grannan’s work was made into bestselling children’s books that sold over 400,000 copies. The character of Maggie Muggins was immortalized as a doll, and over 11,000 of these toys were sold in 1948 alone. Grannan thus had a successful career in print, radio, and television during the CBC's infancy. Her work influenced and shaped Canadian children’s culture in post-Depression and postwar periods. For more than two decades, Canadian children grew up being educated and entertained by her work. She was able to capture the hearts of a generation of children.

After living and working in Toronto for over two decades, Grannan returned to New Brunswick, where she died on 3 January 1975 at her home in Fredericton. Grannan received two honorable mentions from the Institute for Education by Radio in 1942 and 1950. In 1951, she was named an honorary member of the International Mark Twain Society, and in 1947, she received the Beaver Award from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for distinguished service to Canadian Radio for Just Mary.

Andrea Bell, Winter 2008
St. Thomas University

Bibliography of primary sources

Grannan, Mary. The Children’s Scrapbook. CBC. 1939−1946.

 ---. The Christmas Roundup. CBC. Christmas 1952.

---. The Cotton Sprouts. CBC. 1953.

---. Digger Jones. CBC. 1956.

---. The Enchanted Pine. CBC. Christmas and Easter, 1946−1949, 1956.

---. Evening Scrapbook. CBC. 1945.

---. Gift for the Princess. CBC. 1955.

---. Happy Playtime, More Just Mary Stories: A Recent Selection of the Famous Radio Series. Illus. J. Frank Willis. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1948.

---. Happy Playtime, More Just Mary Stories: A Recent Selection of the Famous Canadian Radio Stories. Illus. J. Frank Willis. Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1948.

---. Jewels of Fermanagh. CBC. 1956.

---. Jubilee Road. CBC. 1953−1956.

---. Just Mary. CFNB. Fredericton, NB. 1937−1939.

---. Just Mary. CBC. July−September 1938; Dec. 1938−Jan. 1939; Sept. 1939−June 1962.

---. Just Mary. Illus. Georgette Berckmans. Toronto: W.J. Gage, 1941.

---. Just Mary Again. Illus. Georgette Berckmans. Toronto: W.J. Gage, 1941.

---. Just Mary Blue Stories. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1950.

---. Just Mary Green Stories. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1951.

---. Just Mary Red Stories. Illus. Nancy Caudle. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1953.

---. Just Mary Stories. Rev. ed. London: Frederick Warne, 1958.

---. Just Mary Stories: Combining Just Mary and Just Mary Again. Illus. Georgette Berckmans. Toronto: W.J. Gage, 1942.

---. Just Mary Stories: Combining Just Mary and Just Mary Again. Illus. Georgette Berckmans. Toronto: Thomas Allen, n.d.

---. Just Mary Yellow Stories. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1955.

---. Just Mary’s Brown Book. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1957.

---. Karen Discovers America. CBC. 1952.

---. Kim and Katy: Circus Days. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1956.

---. Kim and Katy: Circus Days. CBC. 1958.

---. Kim and Katy: Schooldays . Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1958.

---. Kim and Katy: Their Summer Holiday. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1956.

---. The Land of Supposing. CBC. 1946−1948, 1950.

---. Maggie Muggins. Illus. Nancy Caudle. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1944.

---. Maggie Muggins. CBC. 1947−1953.

---. Maggie Muggins. CBC. 4 Feb. 1955−June 1962.

---. Maggie Muggins Again. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1949.

---. Maggie Muggins and Benny Bear. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1962.

---. Maggie Muggins and Her Animal Friends. Illus. Bernard Zalusky. Cleveland: Pennington Press, 1959.

---. Maggie Muggins and Her Friends. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1954.

---. Maggie Muggins and Mr. McGarrity. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1952.

---. Maggie Muggins and Mr. McGarrity. Illus. Pat Patience. 1st paperback ed. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1985.

---. Maggie Muggins and the Cottontail. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1960.

---. Maggie Muggins and the Fieldmouse. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1959.

---. Maggie Muggins Bedtime Stories. Illus. Lonnie Stern. Cleveland: Pennington Press, 1959.

---. Maggie Muggins by the Sea. Illus. Lonnie Stern. Cleveland: Pennington Press, 1959.

---. Maggie Muggins Gives a Party. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1961.

---. Maggie Muggins in the Meadow. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1956.

---. Maggie Muggins Stories: A Recent Selection of the Famous Canadian Radio Stories. Illus. Edwin Schmidt. Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1950.

---. Maggie Muggins Tee Vee Tales. Illus. Pat Patience. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1958.

---. The Magic Chord. CBC. Christmas 1942−1945, 1950−1951.

---. Magic in Spring. CBC. Easter 1943−1946.

---. Miss Goldie’s Gift Shop. CBC. 4 Dec. 1954.

---. More Just Mary Stories. Rev. ed. London: Frederick Warne, 1959.

---. More Just Mary Stories. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1981.

---. More Maggie Muggins. Illus. Bernard Zalusky. Cleveland: Pennington Press, 1959.

---. Mr. McGarrity’s Garden. CBC. 1954−1955.

---. New Just Mary Stories: A Recent Selection of the Famous Radio Stories. Illus. Georgette Berkmans. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1946.

---. New Just Mary Stories: A Recent Selection of the Famous Radio Stories. Illus. Georgette Berkmans. 5th abr. ed. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1958.

---. New Maggie Muggins Stories: A Recent Selection of the Famous Radio Stories. Illus. Nancy Caudle. Toronto: Thomas Allen, 1947.

---. The Rustler and the Reindeer. CBC. 1957.

---. Sarah and Peter. CBC. 1948−1950.

---. Sonnie and Susie. CBC. 1944−1945.

---. This is Maggie Muggins. Illus. Bernard Zalusky. Cleveland: Pennington Press, 1959.

---. The Wonderful World of Maggie Muggins. Illus. Lonnie Stern. Cleveland: Pennington Press, 1959.

Grannan, Mary, and Gertrude Davis. Aggravating Agatha. CFNB, Fredericton, NB. 21 Apr. 1936−1937.             

---. and Gertrude Davis. Musical Scrapbook. CFNB, Fredericton, NB. 21 Apr. 1936−1939.

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SECONDARY SOURCES

Hume, Margaret Anne. Just Mary: The Life of Mary Evelyn Grannan. Toronto: Dundurn, 2006.

---. “Just Mary” Reader, Mary Grannan: Selected Stories. Toronto: Dundurn, 2006.