RG 65: Personal Papers of Mary A. Marshall, 1938-1992

Collection Number
RG 65
Born Mary Rice in 1921, Mary A. Marshall graduated from Swarthmore College and came to Washington, DC, in 1942 to work as an economist in the Department of Justice. In 1944 she married Roger D. Marshall and they moved to Arlington in 1953. Prominent in Arlington County politics in the 1950s and early 1960s, Marshall first served at chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee in 1961, acting as the new liberal wing of the party in the face of the Byrd Machine and Massive Resistance to school desegregation. Marshall was elected in 1965 as a Democrat to represent Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates, taking the seat of the retiring Kathryn Stone, another “housewife” turned state representative.

In the General Assembly, Marshall chaired the Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee and served on the Privileges and Elections Committee, the Committee on Health Institutions and Welfare, and the Roads and Internal Navigation Committee. She was a co-founder of the Women's Round Table, a network of legislators and organizations interested in women's issues. She showed special interest in legislation concerning the elderly and served on the Federal Council on Aging from 1978 to 1981. Marshall introduced legislation protecting the rights of the mentally ill and establishing the first state-wide child care licensing law. As a member of the Virginia Library Board, she promoted an increase in state aid for libraries. Marshall represented Arlington in the House of Delegates from 1966 to 1970, lost reelection, and then returned to Richmond from 1972 to 1992. After retiring from politics, Marshall died after a fall in October that same year.
Scope and Content
The personal papers described in this guide were chiefly generated or collected by Mary A. Marshall in the course of her political career in the Virginia House of Delegates. The collection measures nine linear feet and contains material dating from 1938 to 1992, with the bulk from her last twenty years in the General Assembly, 1971-1991. Types of material include legislative subject files, legislative bills, press releases, campaign literature and correspondence, engagement calendars, photographs, and clippings.

Marshall’s subject files (Series 1, Alphabetical Files) and collection of bills she sponsored (Series 2, Legislation) document her efforts to improve life for the elderly, develop public libraries, and her interest in high quality public education and equity for women. Series 1 contains folders on her areas of concern, yearly programs, and supplementary material from the Women’s Round Table. This series also has a collection of bumper stickers representing local, state, and national political races and championing particular issues. Series 2 starts with general legislation passed, then moves into specific bills Marshall sponsored or co-authored. Series 4, Campaign Literature, contains campaign literature for both for Marshall and others, representing national, state, and local races, and Republican, Democratic, and independent candidates, questionnaires from local groups, correspondence, issue statements, financial reports on campaign donations, and expenditures. Series 8, Photographs, has individual images of Marshall in Files 2 through 7; Files 8 through 15 have Marshall with other featured people. File 16 has partial and complete contact sheets of portraits and staged group photos, and File 17 has photos that do not show Marshall, although there is a portrait of her husband Roger. Series 8, Planners, contains Marshall’s daily planners and calendars, purchased or received from the League of Women Voters, Swarthmore College, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has handwritten appointments and notes throughout each one. She listed out personal, legislative, and political activities and appointments.
Arrangement and Description
Record Group 65 is arranged into eight series by type of material. Series 1 is filed alphabetically by folder title/subject matter, and the series on legislation, news clippings, and political campaigns are arranged chronologically. Series 8, Planners, are housed in oversized and clamshell boxes but are still listed and shelved with the rest of the collection. Folders containing photographs have an asterisk [*] after the file name. Folders with oversized materials and artifacts have a double asterisk [**] to denote where material was removed and separation sheets added.
Record Group 65 was donated to the Library by Roger D. Marshall in 1994.
There are no research restrictions on this record group.
Related Collections
RG 26, Campaign Literature, has campaign flyers for Marshall for several election cycles. Marshall was very active in the community; collections for groups where she was a member are RG 33, Records of the American Association of University Women, Arlington Branch, RG 97, Records of Church Women United, and RG 123, Records of Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ. Mary Margaret Whipple, another Arlington representative in Richmond, has materials in RG 168, Personal Papers of Mary Margaret Whipple.


Related Objects