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Monday, March 17, 2014

For the Love of Ireland A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie

Margaret Frances Buchanan Sullivan (1847-1903)
Sacred Heart Alumna ~ Detroit, Michigan
(photo taken from Barat College a Legacy, a Spirit and a Name by Martha Curry
and courtesy of her 
great grandnephew Peter Buchanan of Berkley, Michigan)  

As Saint Patrick's Day has come to a close and I sit at my desk doing research, I have discovered a book For The Love of Ireland - A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie which I am anxious to read. What I find so fascinating about this book is that Margaret Frances Buchanan (Mrs. Alexander Sullivan) a Sacred Heart alumna is one of the main characters! 

Margaret Sullivan was born in Ireland, she was the youngest child of John and Susan Buchanan who settled in Detroit, Michigan in the 1850's.  Margaret was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent in Detroit.  Her obituary states that "she was a proficient Greek, Latin and French scholar".  She taught in the public schools in Detroit and then traveled to Chicago to begin her career as an editorial writer for the Chicago Chronicle.  When she first came to Chicago as a single woman with no family she lived at the convent of the Sacred Heart on Taylor Street and according to Martha Curry, RSCJ on page 28 of her book, Barat College a Legacy, a Spirit and a Name, Margaret Buchanan "moved into the convent on Taylor Street as a 'parlor boarder', neither a student in the boarding school nor one of the nuns."  

Margaret Buchanan married Alexander Sullivan in 1874 and while living in Chicago became active with fellow Sacred Heart alums. By 1896, she was serving as president of the Chicago Alumnae Association which included mostly alums from either Taylor Street (now located in Lake Forest, IL) or State Street in Chicago (now located on Sheridan Road).

click here for a summary of the book

The following was compiled from official obituary notices posted in various newspapers after her death and taken from the website For The Love of Ireland - A Historical Novel by Judy Leslie.

Margaret’s career as a journalist spanned over 30 years, a remarkable feat for a woman during the Gilded Age. Though publishing without a byline or under an alias to hide her identity as a woman, Margaret Frances Buchanan Sullivan was well known on both sides of the Atlantic as an author and editorial writer during Charles Anderson Dana ‘s lifetime.  She was a frequent contributor to The New York Sun and an editorial writer for Chicago Times in the days of Wilbur F. Storey.  In addition, Margaret was an editorial writer for several Chicago daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, and for leading journals of New York and Boston.  In 1895, she held the position of chief editorial writer for the Chicago Times-Herald.  In 1901 she was a writer and art critic for the Chicago Chronicle.

After covering the Charles Stewart Parnell trial in London 1889, Margaret went to the Exposition Universelle (a World's Fair held in Paris, France from  May to  October) as the only official special cable-correspondent representing the Associated Press.  At the opening ceremony, she was the only writer to whom a seat was assigned in line with Jules Simon, the president of France.  Margaret was the only representative of the press invited to assist at the ceremony.  However, this required some finessing on her part.  Upon arriving in Paris, she discovered that she was not permitted to sit with the other press members because of her gender.  When she went to the French Ministry for assistance she was refused.  Margaret quickly sent off two telegrams in the presence of the Minister, one addressed to US Secretary of State, James Blaine and the other to the president of the Associated Press.  Needless to say, the French Minister jumped to accommodate her.

By the turn of the century, her book Ireland of To-Day had sold more than 30,000 copies.

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