January 4, 1982; Death of Margaret Culkin Banning

On this day in 1982, longtime-Duluthian and novelist Margaret Culkin Banning died in her home in Tyron, North Carolina. She was 90 years old. Banning was born March 8, 1891, in Buffalo, Minnesota. In 1897 her father was appointed by President McKinley to the post of Register of the Land Office in Duluth, and the family moved to the Zenith City and made their home at 2328 Woodland Avenue. Banning graduated Duluth Central High School in 1907, after which she  moved to Rochester, New York to live with an uncle who was also a physician—she had been misdiagnosed with consumption. In New York she lived in the Convent of the Sacred Heart for a year before attending Vassar College, studying economics and creative writing. After graduating from Vassar, she studied at the University of Chicago and received a master’s degree in settlement work, an early term for social work. She returned to Duluth and in the fall of 1913 began work as director of the Duluth Social Center and a year later married Duluth attorney Archibald T. Banning. Banning published her first novel, This Marrying, in 1920. She followed that up by publishing a new book about every year into the middle 1940s, and in addition published hundreds of short stories and essays in magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, Harper’s, Woman’s Home Companion, and Saturday Evening Post. The last of her more than forty books, Such Interesting People, was published in 1979. She often wrote on controversial topics for the times, such as birth control, working women, and mixed marriage. Read a much more complete biography of Banning here.

Margaret Culkin Banning. (Image: Duluth Public Library)