McCord, Margaret 1916-2004

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McCORD, Margaret 1916-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born November 7, 1916, in Durban, South Africa; died March 29, 2004, in Carlisle, MA. Author. McCord is best remembered for her award-winning biography The Calling of Katie Makanya: A Memoir of South Africa (1995). The subject of her biography was a woman she had known since childhood as the Zulu translator who worked at the hospital that McCord's father founded in South Africa. The road that led to the writing of the book was long, however. McCord left South Africa to study at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she earned a B.A. in 1939. After spending a year as an art teacher in South Africa, she returned to the United States, was married in 1941, and spent her days as a homemaker while also working a variety of jobs, including as an executive secretary at Cornell University Nursery School during World War II, as a screen story analyst for Warner Bros. in the early 1950s, and as a travel agent in the 1970s and 1980s.

The work on her biography, which would later win the 1996 Alan Paton Award, began in 1954, just months before Makanya's death. McCord spent several weeks recording Makanya's personal story, but the writing did not come about until some four decades later. The result, however, was a very personal view into the racially divided nation of South Africa that also won a CNA Literary Award in 1996 and a New York Library Young Adult Award.



Chicago Tribune, April 12, 2004, Section 4, p. 7.

Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2004, p. B21.


UCLA Faculty Women's Club, (May 13, 2004).

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McCord, Margaret 1916-2004

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