Celebrating Mary Grannan
Catherine Hoyt, Don Roberts, Frances Giberson, Sherry Rose, and
This publication is
a collective tribute to Mary Grannan, perhaps Fredericton's most
famous storyteller. In the year 2000, 100 years after Mary's birth,
local writer Ted jones published an article about Mary in "The
Daily Gleaner". That article instigated this remembrance of
Under the auspices of
the Eileen wallance Children's Literature Collection Advisory Committe,
a group of us formed the Celebrating Mary Grannan Committee. Frances
Giberson read through a selection of Mary's stories and chose A
Strange Valentine for publication, in part, be Valentine's Day
is so close to Mary's birth date, February 11. Thomas Allen Co.
allowed us to reprint the story which was first published in 1955.
Don Roberts, a long time friend of Mary's and keeper of many Mary
treasures wrote the biography andprovided photographs. The City
of Fredericton agreed to declare February 11th, Mary Grannan Day
and Her Honour Marilyn Trenholme Counsell consented to host a Celebrating
Mary grannan Party at Old Government House. Children at Keswick
Ridge School did the illustrations on the activities pages, and
have prepared a dramatized version of A Strange Valentine.
They worked under the direction of Sherry Rose and Charles Fellini.
Emily Mosher, an education student from the University of New Brunswick
developed the activities and related book suggestions for A Strange
Valentine. Catherine Hoyt coordinated the invitations, guest list
and the public lecture. The ideas, photographs and information in
this book are intended to serve as one way to celebrate the legacy
of Mary Grannan.
Mary Grannan -
by Don Roberts
Mary Evelyn Grannan was born February 11,
1900 in Fredericton, N.B. to William Peter Grannan and Catherine
Teresa Haney Grannan. She had two sisters, Ann born in 1897 and
Helen who came along in 1903. She attended St. Dunstan's School
, Fredericton High School and the Provincial Normal School in 1917-1918.
She taught school in various New Brunswick locations including Minto
and Devon. She delighted the children with stories she had written.
Many grown up locals can still recall some of the wonderful stories
She attended summer school courses in Boston's
Vesper George School of Art, and Columbia University in new York.
She also taught summer school classes in Saint John.
In 1935, Mary was hired by J. Stewart Neill
owner of radio station CFNB in Fredericton. Soon she began broadcasting
programmes such as "Musical Scrapbook", and "Aggravatin'
Agatha" a very successful comedy sponsored by Valley Motors,
the local Hudson Car Dealership. The cast starred Mary Grannan,
Carl Hap Watson, and Gertrude Davis. Mary wrote and produced the
entire programme. Mr. Neill made sure the programme was heard by
Gladstone Murray of the CBC. Mary's talent was noted and she was
offered the position of children's programmes for CBC Radio Canada.
She left for Toronto in July 1939 and soon proved herself to be
a very great talent.
Her busy schedule from 1939 to 1962 included
among her many productions: "The Children's Scrapbook",
"The Land of Supposing", "Sonnie and Susie",
"Kim and Katy", "Jubilee Road", "Digger
Jones", "Summer days with Don and Debbie", "Karen
Discovers America", "Just Mary", and "Maggies
Mary brought "Maggie Muggins" radio
show to television from radio in 1954. The two starring characters,
Maggie Muggins and Mr McGarrity, became household names. The Maggie
Muggins sign off at the end of each programme "I don't know
what will happen tomorrow" was repeated by Canadians coast
Her books were published in Canada, the United
States and England. She travelled across Canada and the United States
on speaking engagements, and in 1949 she travelled to England and
Ireland. During Fredericton's centennial year she broadcast her
"Just Mary" stories from CFNB.
Mary Grannan's death on January 3, 1975 at
age 74 ended a long career in writing and broadcasting. She was
well known or her silver jewellery, her large earings, and her very
expensive designer hats. She left a legacy of some thirty books.
Many of her TV programmes on film and writing are in the provincial
archives in Fredericton. A large quantity of books, photos, publicity
and personal effects were left to Don Roberts an old family friend.
To find out how you can
get involved in
supporting Mary Grannan Celebrations,
or for the complete Celebrating Mary Grannan booklet,
Catherine Hoyt, Curator
Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection
P.O. Box 7500
Fredericton, N.B. E3B 5H5
Telephone: (506) 452-6044
Fax: (506) 453-4831
Special Thanks to:
The City of Fredericton
Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection Advisory Committee,
University of New Brunswick
Visiting Lecturers Fund
Office of the Lt- Governor of the Province of New Brunswick