Marion Polk Angellotti was born on Nov 12, 1887, in either Irvington or San Rafael, California. She was the daughter of Frank Marion Angellotti and Emma Cornelia Angellotti (Clearey). Frank M. Angellotti was a chief justice of the supreme court of California from 1915–1921. She had an older sister, Frances Louise, who died in infancy.
There has been confusion about her birth dates, with the Social Security Death Index providing a date of 1894, and other sources pointing to 1888. I believe that the true date of birth is in 1887; as evidence, I provide a shipping manifest of passengers from her trip to France.
I also found supporting evidence for this date in a couple of newspaper articles which talk about her age, relative to the articles’ date. An article about her father, Frank Angellotti, the judge, in 1902 mentions her name and gives her age as 14 years, which matches the date above.
Her father was a prominent man in California society of the time, and she made her debut in society at the age of 18, being formally presented in a party at home on 27 October 1906.
In 1911, she published her first book, Sir John Hawkwood, based on the English mercenary. This may have been an expanded version of her serial published in Adventure in the same year. She followed this story up with others on the same character, also published in Adventure, till 1915. Presumably, she was contributing articles to other magazines as well, but I have not been able to find any records of this.
She wrote more books: The Burgundian in 1912 and Harlette in 1913. In 1915, she made a trip to Europe (Italy) with her mother, presumably to visit relatives there.
She served as a volunteer canteen worker with the American Red Cross from 1918 to 1919, working in an evacuation hospital during the Saint Michel offensive, and with the Army of Occupation in Germany.
The book that she wrote based on these experiences was likely The Firefly of France, about the exploits of the French ace, Georges Guynemer. This book was later made into a movie.
Her last book was Three black bags, published in 1922. Sadly, we know no more of her till her death in April 1979. The John Hawkwood stories from Adventure are now back in print, thanks to Black Dog Books, and they’re good. Link below.
|“Brilliant rise of Angellotti”||Unknown Author||San Francisco Call||Volume 87 Number 89||28 August 1902|
|“The Smart Set”||Unknown Author||San Francisco Call||Volume 100 Number 149||27 October 1906|
|Unknown Author||San Francisco Call||Volume 111 Number 143||21 April 1912|
|“Brief Items of Local Interest”||Unknown Author||Sausalito News||Volume 31 Number 47||20 November 1915|
|“Brief Items of Local Interest”||Unknown Author||Sausalito News||Volume 35 Number 24||21 June 1919|
|“The San Francisco Bay Region”||Bailey Millard||Vol 3 page 311-312.|
|Polk family and kinsmen||William Harrison Polk|
|The bookman||Mar-Aug 1912|
Her John Hawkwood book reprints the serial from Adventure. She also wrote several short stories about Hawkwood for Adventure. The novel and all the short stories are collected in "The Black Death" published by Black Dog Books, which has an intro by me on Angelotti. It's a shame she didn't write more; not sure why her writing career ended.
Should have added a link to that in the first place, it's a great book of swashbuckling adventure. Here's the link to Black Death.
I know Sai already is aware of Doug's two collections of early stories from ADVENTURE, THE BEST OF ADVENTURE, volumes one and two, but maybe some other readers are not aware. Recently at the Windy City Pulp Convention in Chicago, I even complained to Doug and Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books, that the volumes should be published every year and not every two years. I'll get banned one of these days yet.
Providing Amazon links for your convenience:
The Best of Adventure, Volume 1-1910-1912
The Best of Adventure Volume 2 1913-1914
Or you can buy direct from Black Dog books, links follow
The Best of Adventure Volume 1 1910-1912
The Best of Adventure Volume 2 1913-1914
Two tiny bit of additional information.
Her short novel "Harlette" appeared in The Smart Set for April 1913 under the title "When the Devil Ruled". And the Social Security Death Index says her last place of residence (before her death in 1979) was Upland, California.
And another snippet of evidence that she was indeed born on November 12, 1887, is a letter from "Marion Angellotti" in the November 1896 issue of "St. Nicholas: An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks", in which she says "I am only eight".
Thank you John, for the additions to the little knowledge we have about this remarkable author.