2009-09-19 / Potter County News

Who was Margaret Sutton

Margaret Sutton was most famous as the author of the Judy Bolton series of mystery books, consisting of 38 volumes published between 1932 and 1967.

She also wrote several books in the Gail Gardner series, The Magic Maker series, as well as other books.

Almost all her works were published by Grosset & Dunlap (with the exception of the Gail Gardner series) alongside the books released by the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

Her Judy Bolton books were advertised as all being based on actual events from Sutton's life; that was only partly true. The series ended in 1967, before the next book, "The Strange Likeness," could be published.

In 1997, Linda Joy Singleton privately published "Judy Bolton: The Talking Snowman," a new Judy Bolton mystery. Sutton began the manuscript for this book in 1980, and years later Singleton finished it with help from Sutton.

She was born on Jan. 22, 1903, as Rachel Beebe in Odin, between Austin and Coudersport in southern Potter County. Her love of history and literature may be traced to her father, Victor Beebe, who wrote "The History of Potter County."

Sutton was well educated and, with her husband William Sutton, was a founder of the South Nassau Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Freeport, N.Y. She wrote a religious education curriculum, "Letters to Live By," which was published in Sunday school magazines and taught in churches across the country.

Sutton was active in social causes, advocating for fair housing and joining the historic "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" in 1963.

She died on June 21, 2001, at age 98 in Lock Haven as Margaret S. Hunting from her second marriage to Everett Hunting.

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