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Mary Johnston (November 21, 1870 – May 9, 1936) was an American novelist and women's rights advocate. The daughter of an American Civil War soldier who became a successful lawyer, Mary Johnston was born in the small town of Buchanan, Virginia. A small and frail girl, she was educated at home by family and tutors. She grew up with a love of books and was financially independent enough to devote herself to writing. Johnston wrote historical books and novels that often combined romance with history. Her first book Prisoners of Hope (1898) dealt with colonial times in Virginia as did her second novel To Have and to Hold (1900) and her Sir Mortimer (1904). The Goddess of Reason (1907) uses the theme of the French Revolution and in Lewis Rand (1908), the author portrayed political life at the dawn of the 19th century. Three of Johnston's books were adapted to film. Audrey was made into a silent film of the same name in 1916 and her blockbuster work To Have and to Hold, which was the best-selling novel in the United States in 1900, was made into a silent film in 1916 and filmed again in 1922. Pioneers of the Old South was adapted to film in 1923 under the title Jamestown. During her long career, in addition to twenty-three novels, Johnston wrote a number of short stories, one drama, and two long narrative poems. She used her fame to advocate women's rights, strongly supporting the women's suffrage movement.
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