Mary-Gresham Machen, 86, collected children's books

July 18, 2005

Mary-Gresham Machen, who held degrees in French history and collected children's books, died from complications of pneumonia Thursday at Roland Park Place, where she had lived since 1987. She was 86.

Born and raised in Ruxton, she was a 1937 graduate of the old Greenwood School. She was a graduate of Goucher College, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a master's degree and doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University, where her doctoral thesis was on the political influence of Joan of Arc.

"Her student life was often interrupted by long illnesses. As a young child, she was a patient of Dr. Walter E. Dandy, the noted Hopkins neurosurgeon who performed three brain operations that greatly relieved her chronic vertigo. She was not expected to live to maturity," said her brother, Arthur W. Machen Jr., a retired Baltimore attorney and Towson resident.

FOR THE RECORD - Mary-Gresham Machen:
An obituary published in Monday's editions incorrectly listed the name of a survivor. In addition to her brother, Miss Machen is survived by a sister, Elizabeth M. Palmer of Sykesville.
The Sun regrets the error.

"Nevertheless, in addition to her academic achievements, she engaged in occasional volunteer work in the Hopkins history department and for the historical societies of which she was a member. She was always known for her cheerful and uncomplaining spirit."

A longtime Roland Park resident, Miss Machen was an avid walker, reader and bibliophile who enjoyed collecting children's books. Her earliest volumes dated to the early 19th century, her brother said.

"She was a familiar figure on the sidewalks of Roland Park. Always seen with a cane and halting gait, she was fair game for street assailants and survived two severe muggings before she became a resident of the retirement community," Mr. Machen said.

Miss Machen was a former member of the Mount Vernon Club, the Johns Hopkins Club, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Colonial Dames of America.

She was a communicant of St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. July 30.

Other survivors include a sister, Helen Woods Machen of Sykesville, and several nieces and nephews.

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