Heritage \ Writings \

Miss Frances Margaret Fox (1870-1959)
Popular author of childrens books during the early 20th century.

1909 authors. (Added Apr., 2009)

Men and Women of America, 1909

Miss Frances Margaret Fox
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Author; born in South Framingham, Mass., June 23, 1870; daughter of James and Frances Mary (Franks) Fox She was educated in the Kalamazoo Seminary, at Kalamazoo, Mich. Miss Fox is a writer of short stories for children and author of the books; Farmer Brown and the Birds; Betty of Old Mackinaw; The Little Giants' Neighbors; What Gladys Saw; Mother Natures's Little Ones; Little Lady Marjorie; Brother Billy; The Rainbow Bridge; How Christmas Came to the Movaneys; The Country Christmas; Carlota; Alan's Jungle Story; Seven Christmas Candles, and others. Home address: Bay City, Mich. Present address: Long Beach, Calif.

1946 news article. (Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - Apr., 2009.)

The Bay City Times - January 6, 1946 (Page 8)

Is Only Concerned with Future.
________

Miss Frances Margaret Fox, former Bay Cityan and author of half-hundred highly successful children’s books, is pictured above at the Wenonah hotel, where she is living this winter. She proudly holds a “sunshine box” Christmas gift of the grandchildren of the late Lee Joslyn Jr., former Bay City attorney and lifelong friend of the writer. At her elbow is a small portion of the books which have intrigued two generations of youngsters but which the 75 year-old author tosses aside with the remark that “I never look backward. I’m only interested in the next book.”

Former Bay City Author, Deals Only In Happiness.

Dealer in happiness, only, is Miss Frances Margaret Fox, author of upwards of 50 children’s books and at present a winter resident of Bay City.

Miss Fox, whom many Bay Cityans remember as a resident in the home of the late Lee Joslyn Sr. and his family, and secretary in his office, when he practiced law in Bay City, says she chose Bay City as home for the past two wartime winters because of her pleasant memories of it.

Her elfin smile and the pixie quality of her humor and philosophy make her popular with Bay City friends, who entertain her merrily on weekends and holidays. The rest of the time the charming 75 year-young authoress is busy working on her new book, if you please.

Twinkling eyes accompany her remark that her next volume-like her last one- will deal with legends and stories of the saints. For she says “I just thought it might be a good idea to be turning to them for subject matter now”

Has Inflexible Rule.

Not easy is the task, however, for Miss Fox has an inflexible rule that only happiness and gaiety must appear in her books for children. “It’s quite a task finding saints who lived happy lives and died in their beds” she laughed.

Despite the simplicity which has made her works favored by two generations of children, according to Bay City librarians, quantities of careful research go into them to assure their accuracy. Since she has made her winter home in Washington, D. C. for the past many years, the Smithsonian Institution for material on the natural sciences and the Library of Congress for other material of literary or scientific origin, are her favorite fields of study.

She tells an amusing story of one visit to the Smithsonian when she was compiling material for a highly successful volume “Little Toad”. Instructed by an attendant to go through a door marked “no admittance” to find an employee with whom she wished to confer, she blithely walked through the doorway into a room alive with small (harmless, she hoped) snakes and other reptiles. She admitted she cut her studies a little short thereafter.

Uses Familiar Subject.

Not a little of the material in her books has been taken from her years in Bay City and the many summers she has spent at her summer home on Mackinac Island. "Betty Of Old Mackinac” is one of her earliest and most loved books while “The Little Saints” was based on some of her experiences with children in the Joslyn home “although I never dared tell the children so” she said.

Visiting one of the largest department stores of the country a few years go, Miss Fox was disturbed to find none of her books on their book shop shelves. For information, she asked the department stores buyer “why not” and was smilingly informed that “we haven’t any because we can’t keep them. However if you’d rather we kept them instead of selling them, I’ll see what I can do.”

Perennial favorites here too, are in the books of the former resident who brushes past achievements aside with the remark that “I never look backward. I’m always looking toward the next book.” In a casual armful of Frances Margaret Fox books on the Bay City Public Library shelves, publication dates range from 1901 to 1943 and the number of books on the files indicates her prolific output. Well worn covers and pages darkened by eager small fingers testify to their popularity.

Makes Children Laugh.

“The True Monkeys” written for the purpose of “making children laugh” typified Miss Fox’ insistence that only happiness enter into her works. “I had to kill one small boy, a character in an early book” she sad “and it took a week’s vacation for me to get over it. However I simply couldn’t tell the story any other way.” It was her only departure from the “happiness mood” which characterizes both writer and writings.

Miss Fox said she has been most happy in Bay City, where she has made her home at the Wenonah hotel “I’ve only happy memories of the city anyway” she says “even for Mercy hospital, where I had wonderful care and attention through a major operation a few years ago. At the time she said “I told them – when a nurse commented that although I was just out from under the anesthetic I could still smile- that if they cut my laughter out, they might as well finish the job.” They left her laughing quality entirely intact.

Additional Notes:

    1870 - Massachusetts Births: Framingham, MA.

  • Francis Margaret Fox, born June 23, 1870, daughter of James and Frances Fox.

    1889 - Census: Cassopolis, Cass, Mich.

  • Fox, James - b. 1845, Asia - freight agent railroad.
  • Clara A., wife - b. 1849, New Hampshire.
  • Francis M., daughter - b. 1871, Mass.
  • Edna, daughter - b. 1873, Mass.
  • Clifton A. son - b. 1879, Mich.

    1920 - Census: Washtenaw Co., Mich.

  • Joslyn, Lee E. - b. 1896, Mich.
  • Evangeline, wife - b. 1898, Mich.
  • Fox, Francis M. - b. 1871, Mass.
Related Note & Pages


Francis Margaret Fox

Related Pages:
Joslyn, Lee E.
Wenonah Hotel
People Referenced
Fox, Clifton (bro)
Fox, Edna (sis)
Fox, Frances M. (subject)
Fox, James (father)
Franks, Frances Mary (mother)
Joslyn, Evangeline Mrs.
Joslyn, Lee Jr.
Joslyn, Lee Sr.
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Bay City Public Library
Cass County, MI
Cassopolis, MI
Framingham, MA
Kalamazoo, MI
Kalamazoo Seminary
Library of Congress
Long Beach, CA
Mackinaw Island, MI
Mercy Hospital, Bay City
Smithsonian Inst.
S. Framingham, MA
Washington, DC
Washtenaw County, MI
Wenonah Hotel
Related Internet Sources
Frances Margaret Fox
Google Books
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  • [Farmer Brown and the Birds]
    Importance of birds.
  • [Carlota]
    Story about the San Gabiel mission.
  • [Little Boy All Alone]
    Story she wrote in the Good Housekeeeping magazine.
    [Little Bear at Work and at Play]
    Ebook, free to download.
    [MichiganLetters.org]
    Excellent historical trascript on Miss Fox, and others by Central Michigan University.
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.