Florida’s most celebrated enviromentalist and author, Marjory Stoneman Douglas wrote wisely about and fought passionately to protect the Everglades. Her 1947 best-selling book, The Everglades: River of Grass, informed the nation and the world about Florida’s unique and fragile ecosystem. She devoted her last 30 years to helping students and citizens combat the environmental crisis that threatens the Everglades and Florida’s wildlife. Marjory was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992. She was a guest speaker for the Jacksonville Historical Society in 1967.
Born April 7, 1890 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Marjory was raised in Taunton, Massachusetts after the divorce of her parents. She attended the public schools in Taunton and Wellesley College, where she majored in English composition and graduated in 1912 with an A.B. degree. After her mother’s death and the end of her brief marriage, Douglas moved to Miami to work with her father, Frank Stoneman, then the editor of The Miami Herald. Douglas left the Herald in 1923, after many years working on The Galley, a daily column that always included a poem. As an assistant editor on the paper, Douglas also wrote editorials urging protection and development of Florida’s unique regional character in the face of rapid commercial development. After leaving the paper, she devoted herself to her literary career, writing of short stories, 40 of which were published in the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines between 1923 and 1938, many winning O. Henry and other awards. With the publication of The Everglades: River of Grass, she became a leader of the successful campaign for the establishment of Everglades National Park and in 1969 helped to found the conservation organization Friends of the Everglades. Marjory Stoneman Douglas died in her home in Coconut Grove, Florida, on May 14, 1998 at the age of 108.