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Davenport, Marcia


DAVENPORT, MARCIA (1903–1996), U.S. novelist. Born in New York City, Marcia Davenport was the daughter of the lyric soprano Alma *Gluck. She herself became a music critic and joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine (1928–31), later working also for Fortune magazine. One of her marriages was to Russell Davenport, who became managing editor of Fortune. In 1930 she went to Prague in search of material on Mozart, whose biography she published as her first book in 1932. This was followed by two works that established her as a leading novelist: Of Lena Geyer (1936), the story of an opera singer, and Valley of Decision (1942), about life in the Pittsburgh steel mills, a bestseller that was made into a motion picture.

After the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, Marcia Davenport became a close friend of the refugee Czech statesman, Jan Masaryk, and was active on behalf of the Czechoslovak cause during World War ii. In 1945, at the invitation of President Beneš, she settled in Prague and remained there with Masaryk until the Communists seized power in 1948. She thereupon went to London, where she and Masaryk planned to be married as soon as he could join her but only a few days later he was found dead in mysterious circumstances. Returning to the U.S., Marcia Davenport resumed her literary career, and published My Brother's Keeper (1954) and The Constant Image (1960). Her autobiography, Too Strong for Fantasy, appeared in 1967.

[Milton Henry Hindus]

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