Marie L. Shedlock

1854 - 1935



Marie L. Shedlock
Marie L. Shedlock was credited with re-establishing storytelling as an art.  Her two tours of America enduringly rooted storytelling in the public library.   Her remarkable performances inspired a whole new group of young people to become storytellers.  She was born on May 5, 1854, in Boulogne.  At the age of 21, she began teaching at an English public school for girls: However, she decided to retire from teaching at the age of 46 so that she could become a professional storyteller.  She arrived in America with a letter of introduction to Mary Wright Plummer that profoundly affected the development of library service to children.  During her performance at the Pratt Institute Library, Marie Shedlock drew of the notice of another prominent children's librarian -  Anne Carroll Moore.  Her first tour of America lasted seven years.  She returned to London to share her American experiences with teachers in England.  In 1915, Anne Carroll Moore convinced Marie Shedlock to return to America for a second tour that would last five years.  Marie Shedlock inspired a number of people to become storytellers, including Ruth Sawyer who would become America's foremost storyteller.  Affectionately called the "Fairy Godmother," Marie Shedlock taught her adult listeners that storytelling could be used to introduce children to their literary heritage.

Selected Works
  • Eastern Stories and Legends
  • The Art of the Story-Teller, 1915
  • Stories to Tell Young People: A Selected List, 1916
  • Greene, E. (1996). Storytelling: Art and technique (3rd ed., pp. 9-10). New Providence, NJ: R. R. Bowker.
  • Kingsbury, M. E. (1978). Shedlock, Marie L. In B. S. Wynar (Ed.), Dictionary of American library biography (pp. 481-482). Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

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Last Modified: May 6, 2002