Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Mystery of Marjorie Torrey (Solved)

I've been an admirer of Marjorie Torrey's illustrations since I was very small.  We had a copy of the Dandelion edition of ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1955) and PETER PAN (1957), which combined the two books into one.  Torrey's colour paintings and black and white illustrations were charming and magical.  I felt like I was there, in Wonderland.  There were other children's artists that I liked, such as Dr. Seuss, Sid Hoff and H. A. Rey.  Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon series never ceased to intrigue me.  But I think for sheer beauty, Marjorie Torrey was the greatest children's book illustrator of the 20th century.

But who was Marjorie Torrey?  The only information available online is that she was born in 1899, and that in 1966 a fellow named Tom Torre Bevans began renewing the copyright on her books and illustrations.  The 1899 year of birth is given in publications and catalogues dating back to the 1940s, but when she died is unknown.  As for Tom Torre Bevans (in some Catalog of Copyright Entries his name is spelled "Torrey"), there is some speculation that he was Marjorie Torrey's husband.  There are no other biographical details available.  But I wasn't buying the idea that Tom Torre Bevans was Marjorie's husband, and after a little research I confirmed that he wasn't.  Nor was Marjorie born in 1899.  So now I went from two little scraps of biographical information to none at all.  I was off to a good start.

Original art: gouache on board (date unknown)

It seemed too much of a coincidence that Tom Bevans' middle name was Torre.  I wondered, could he be Marjorie Torrey's son?  He was.  But, as it turns out, he was born in 1912, so it seemed unlikely (though not impossible) that Marjorie was born in 1899.  According to the 1920 United States Federal Census, Marjorie T. Bevans (27) was born "about" 1893.  Her spouse, Thomas M. Bevans (39), was born in 1881 in Illinois, and they had one child, listed as "Torre H." (7).  They were renting a home in Manhattan.  Staying with them was Marjorie's mother, Caroline L. Hood (51), born 1869 in New York.  Both Tom and Marjorie gave their occupations as "Illustrator", and that they were working on their "Own Account" (i.e., freelance). 

So now we know that Marjorie Torrey was born Marjorie Torrey Hood in 1893.  Except that I came across the November 1901 issue of ST. NICHOLAS, a children's magazine.  "The St. Nicholas League" was a section devoted to their young readers, a forum where they could display their drawings and poems.  One of the entrants, Marjorie T. Hood, gives her age as 13, rather than 8.  She couldn't have been born in 1893.  Thwarted again!

Checking the 1910 United States Federal Census we find that Marjorie T. Hood was actually born in 1888, in Connecticut (not New York, as was claimed on the 1920 census).  She was single, and living in Ridgewood, Bergen County, New Jersey with her parents, William A. Hood, born 1859 in New York, and Carolyn [sic] L. Hood, born 1862 in New York.  For some reason, Marjorie and her mother lied about their ages on the 1920 census.

Not only did Marjorie Torrey shave 5 years off her age, but she later shaved off another 6 years.  At the very least, she never bothered to disabuse anyone of the notion that she was born in 1899.  Even with this new information, we're left with a woefully thin biography.

*                    *                    *

Illustration from St. Nicholas magazine (April 1900)

Marjorie Torrey Hood was born in 1888 in Connecticut, the only child of William A. Hood, born 1859, and Carolyn L. Hood, born 1862.  She came from American Dutch and English stock.  The Hood family eventually settled in Brooklyn, New York.

From an early age Marjorie enjoyed drawing, and sent her artwork to ST NICHOLAS, a popular children's periodical that ran from 1873 to 1940.  The last few pages of the magazine, "The St Nicholas League", was devoted to their young readers, and provided a place for them to have their drawings, poems, short stories and essays printed.  Cash prizes were awarded for the best entries. At first Marjorie's drawings were relegated to the Special Mention section: "Though not quite up to the publication mark, special mention should be made of the drawings sent this month by Dates Pursell, Ethel York, Robert H. McKoy, Marjorie Hood, Margaret Peckham, Margaret Thomasson, and Arthur Bell.  Also of stories and essays by Lily Carpenter Worthington, Anna Spencer Stokes, Edgar Daniels, Rachel D. Kanes, and Lois W. Martin.  The work sent by these young writers and artists is very promising, and they should persevere."  The children named here were also listed, along with several more, in the Roll of Honor: "A list of those whose work, though not used, has been found worthy of honorable mention."

Illustration from St. Nicholas magazine (November 1901); Marjorie is showing remarkable competence at the age of 13

Marjorie did persevere, and one of her drawings, of a little girl sitting before a glowing hearth, was published in the next issue (April 1900).  She contributed regularly, and though her drawings weren't always published, the ones that were showed a young artist whose skill was growing by leaps and bounds.  Eventually she merited the League's gold badge award, winning cash prizes.

In her early teens Marjorie enrolled at the National Academy of Design.  AMERICAN ART NEWS reported in their February 3, 1906 issue that "the social event of the season" had taken place on the evening of January 26.  The National Academy had held their annual exhibition of students' work, as well as a costume dance: "Several hundred people were present, and about two hundred were masked."  The dance was the highlight of the evening: "There were, or course, clowns, farmers, tramps, courtiers, wild westerners, Spanish girls, nuns, dancers, etc...After they had posed for the flash light photographer several times, prizes for the most artistic, original and unique costumes were awarded.  Miss Marjorie Hood won first prize.  Her costume was that of Robin Hood, or a hunter, and was of her own design."  Marjorie's acute sense of fashion was to serve her well a few years later.

"When One is to be a June Bride": illustration for Ladies' Home Journal (April 1923)

That same year the students at the National Academy organised a committee "for the purpose of regulating and improving the conditions of the various classes when an occasion presents itself."  Marjorie and seven others, representing various classes, were elected to the committee.

AMERICAN ART NEWS for July 11, 1908 reported that a "surprise party and dance was organized by Miss Margery Hood and Leighton Smithe in honor of A. L. Kroll, recipient of the Mooney scholarship from the Academy for two years' study abroad."  It's interesting to note that here her name was spelled "Margery".  (It may very well have been the writer's error, but in the future Marjorie was to use seemingly endless variations on her name.)

The National Academy held an annual award ceremony, and though Marjorie received only an honourable mention in 1907 in the composition class, in 1909 she received a Suydam bronze medal in the women's life drawing class.  A silver and bronze medal were awarded for the two most accomplished pieces, the competitors having made their drawings in a group, from the same model.  By this time she had dropped the y from her middle name.

Royal Baking Powder ad, 1920

Marjorie's days were spent in parks, sketching children as they played, an exercise that would later pay off.  Evenings were spent at museums with her fellow artists, as well as writers, suffragettes, socialists and radicals.  One of her more notable acquaintances was a struggling poet named Vachel Lindsay, the de facto leader of the group.

"We decorated a restaurant together," wrote Lindsay, in his COLLECTED POEMS (1925), "and the restaurant used this song [Litany of the Heroes] for a souvenir.  We gloried in that place.  It was there we held some of our midnight arguments.  We were grander than Greenwich Village, long before there ever was such a thing on the art map.  We were Paul Burlin, George Mather Richards, Pierre Laird, Earl H. Brewster, Leighton Haring Smith, and some brilliant girls, among whom were Margery Torrey Hood, now Torrey Bevans, and Achsa Barlow, now Mrs. Earl H. Brewster.  The restaurant was called The Pig and the Goose, and has since disappeared."  COLLECTED POEMS was a rather thick tome, with a print run of only 350 copies.  Earlier in the book Lindsay mentioned that he'd mailed his small press publications "War Bulletins" and "Peace Advocate" to "Marjorie Torre Hood (now Torre Bevans)".  This alternative spelling may have been more typical of Marjorie than Vachel.

Royal Baking Powder Christmas ad, 1920

Her circle of friends, particularly those with socialist leanings, would have her cross paths with Thorstein Veblen, the sociologist and economist.  According to Elizabeth Watkins Jorgensen and Henry Irvin Jorgensen in THORSTEIN VEBLEN: VICTORIAN FIREBRAND (1999), Veblen had for years been involved with a woman named Ann Bradley, a suffragette and socialist known as "Babe", whose ex-husband, Tom Bevans, "was now involved with a certain Marjorie Hood -- eighteen years old, beautiful, pregnant with Tom's child, and with money in her background.  'Marjorie liked to go to parks and restaurants...had a flair for...clothes, [and] wore them well...'"  Marjorie wasn't 18 in 1912, when she was pregnant, so she must already have been claiming an 1893 birth date.  It's possible she lied even to Tom Bevans.  Veblen divorced his wife Ellen January 20, 1912, and married Ann Bradley on June 17, 1914.  Ann had custody of her and Tom's two daughters, Becky and Ann.

Illustration from The Masses (April 1911)

It's interesting to note that Marjorie had "money in her background."  She'd put it to some use, as a stockholder in THE MASSES, a radical socialist magazine that ran from 1911 to 1917, when they were put on trial for "treasonable material", specifically for seeking to obstruct the recruiting and enlistment of the military.  Marjorie was also an active participant, contributing illustrations, and a brief article, "Art Impossible Under Capitalism", which reads, in part,

"Art is the expression of that sense of beauty which lies deep and purposeful in the human soul.

"It lies buried, crushed -- by poverty, dirt, monotonous toil.  It is exploited by the impersonal, hurried, machine-like labor that goes into the making of everything about us -- the clothes we wear, the houses we live in, our utensils, our public buildings, even our books and pictures and music."

Illustration from The Masses (June 1911)

"Art Impossible Under Capitalism", in toto, from The Masses (March 1912)

Marjorie was involved with the magazine only during its first couple of years of existence, so she wasn't one of the people listed on the masthead who ended up being tried.

But with a family -- Tom Torre Bevans was born September 11, 1912 -- comes responsibility, and idealism was replaced by the reality of need.  Thus, Marjorie was soon forced to become part of the capitalist society she decried, earning a living as a freelance artist, taking whatever work she could find in advertising (she did numerous ads for the Royal Baking Powder Company) and fashion design.  As well, she became an illustrator of magazine covers and articles, and, of course, children's books.  She continued supporting THE MASSES financially until late 1913.  The magazine, which, at its peak, reach a circulation of 25,000, lasted another four years.

Illustration for St. Nicholas magazine (January 1915)

She returned to ST NICHOLAS, this time as a professional illustrator for a story titled "The Little Queen of Twelfth-Night", written by Katharine Elise Chapman.  For Marjorie, it must have been a dream come true, to work for the magazine that thrilled her as a child.  It was at this time that she began signing her name "Bevans".  (The credit for the three ST NICHOLAS illustrations was "T. M. and M. T. Bevans", i.e., Thomas Bevans and Marjorie Torre Bevans, but it should be noted that the artwork is recognisably Marjorie's, and that it bears her signature, except for one piece, which might have been a collaboration.)  According to a 1940 article, "at first she signed her drawings Torrey Bevans, but decided to drop the y so that its descender would not be a lone stilt under her signature."  (This statement notwithstanding, she'd left off the y long before she'd met Tom Bevans.)

Illustration for St. Nicholas magazine (January 1915)

Illustration for St. Nicholas magazine (January 1915)

She also found work at HARPER'S BAZAR (later HARPER'S BAZAAR), primarily as an illustrator, but she also began to hone her writing skills.  In 1915 HARPER'S BAZAR said that Marjorie "loves the French artists but is always so anxious to please the art editor that she will draw any old way..."  It was in women's magazines that she was able to earn a living.  She contributed covers and illustrations to GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, THE DELINEATOR, McCALL'S and THE LADIES' HOME JOURNAL.

Illustration from Ladies' Home Journal (April 1914)

Illustration from Ladies' Home Journal (April 1914)

Illustration from Ladies' Home Journal (December 1915)

Marjorie and Tom occupied the ground floor of a large house in Washington Square, in the heart of Greenwich Village.  Tom, an architect by trade, often collaborated with Marjorie, who posed for the figures he sketched, leaving Marjorie to draw the faces and to drape the figures in her rather unique costumes.  Marjorie also filled in the ornate backgrounds, in the Art Nouveau style that she grew up admiring and which stuck with her for the rest of her life.  Both did their work at night, drawing and painting till sunrise.

Illustration from Ladies' Home Journal (August 1915)

The Bevans family, 1915: Thomas, Marjorie and son Tom

Marjorie was also known to wear unusual fashions, in and out of the house.  "My husband and myself," she explained in a 1915 newspaper article, "feel that everyone has a right to work out his or her own individuality and to express themselves in their own way.  But this doesn't operate against our working together.  In fact where two persons are very congenial and like the same things there is a combined strength and power in their effort which for either alone would be quite impossible of attainment.  We find this to be the case with our work and enjoy the result more in consequence."

Cover for Harper's Bazar (October 1916)

Illustration from Harper's Bazar, 1917

Article and Illustration for Harper's Bazar (February 1917)

Aunt Jemima ad from Ladies' Home Journal (February 1918)

Marjorie, who always had a penchant for drawing children, particularly little girls, made dozens of pretty illustrations for a book called ON OUR HILL (1918), written by Josephine Daskam Bacon.  Though it was credited to T. M. and M. T. Bevans, as usual Tom seems to have had little, if anything, to do with the drawings.  In fact, in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, the book is copyrighted to Josephine Daskam Bacon and M. T. Bevans.

On Our Hill (1918), page 10

On Our Hill (1918), page 117

On Our Hill (1918), page 151

On Our Hill (1918), page243

Marjorie Torre Bevans, 1922

An April 22, 1922 article in the New York Herald lists numerous notables leaving for Europe that day aboard six steamships, Mr and Mrs T. M. Bevans amongst them, on the Touraine.  Various society pages during November and December 1922 stated that the "noted illustrator" had "returned to America after six years abroad."  Where this glaringly false information originated is uncertain, but it wouldn't be beyond Marjorie to rewrite her own history and fabricate such a glamorous story for the press.  The 1920 U. S. Federal Census decrees otherwise: Marjorie and her husband, Thomas, were renting an apartment at 129 West 11th Street in Greenwich Village.  Other members of the household were their 7-year-old son and Marjorie's widowed mother, as well as a 24-year-old "servant" and a 31-year-old "lodger".  A year later, AMERICAN ART ANNUAL (a catalogue of artists) for 1921 gives Marjorie's address as "Hotel Brevoort, 8th and 5th Ave., New York, N.Y."  The family moved frequently, but remained denizens of Greenwich Village.

You can't believe everything you read: Marjorie Torre Bevans, seen here in November 1922, wasn't a "French illustrator"

Cover for Ladies' Home Journal (February 1922)

In 1926 Marjorie copyrighted a play, "The Shimmering Tail; or The Dead Man's Wink, a comedy in 4 acts", under the name M. Torre.  Whether this composition was ever published or performed is not known.

During the 1920s Marjorie took part (along with other local celebrities) in an annual event, the Carnival of Imagination, benefitting the Dr. Mary Halton Endowment for Girls.  Marjorie  also served on the endowment's board, as secretary.  The proceeds from ticket sales for the costumed ball funded hospital beds for hundreds of working girls in New York who couldn't otherwise afford medical care.  In 1925 the event was held at the Biltmore on May 1.  It was reported that the Queen of the May was to be "Marjorie Torre Bevans, probably the only artist extant who has never been able to draw a lady so beautiful as herself."  In 1928 she attended the ball as the Pharaoh's daughter, in an Egyptian dress she undoubtedly designed herself.

Cover for McCall's magazine (August 1921)

The fashion illustrator known as "Torre Bevans" was something of a New York celebrity, and seemed to revel in the spotlight, as little as it was.  But, beginning in the 1930s, Marjorie Torrey, the children's book illustrator, shunned any personal publicity, becoming more and more obscure as the years went by.

It's unknown when her marriage to Tom Bevans ended, but in the 1930s she found a new kindred spirit named Roy Chanslor.  Roy was born August 25, 1899, and was 11 years younger than Marjorie, though it's possible he never knew it.  Radicals attracted Marjorie in her youth, and 20 years later Roy was no exception.  He was born in Clay County, Missouri, and began a career in journalism on the student newspaper at the University of California, Berkeley.

April 1922 saw the release of THE LAUGHING HORSE, a small press publication ("Limited Edition of 500 Copies Printed on Genuine Wrapping Paper", at the hefty price of 25 cents each) of "satire, burlesque and all around destructive criticism", whose main target was the educational system in general, and the University of California in particular.  It was published anonymously, until issue number 4, when it was revealed that Roy Chanslor (who held the copyright), Willard "Spud" Johnson and James Van Rensselaer, Jr. were the culprits behind the radical magazine.  But some of the contents of this issue -- an excerpt from a book by Upton Sinclair scathingly criticising the University of California and its president, and a contribution by D. H. Lawrence -- got Roy, the only one of the editors actually enrolled at the University -- in trouble.  The scandal made the papers nationwide.  What happened next was described by Rensselaer, Jr. in a 1922 article for THE TEMPEST: "A self-appointed delegation of students visited all the book stands where the magazine was on sale and demanded that the proprietors take it off."  They also demanded the district attorney take legal action.  The D.A. "promptly swore out a warrant and had Chanslor arrested.  The bail was fixed at $500 but was later reduced to $250.  When the trial came up our lawyer discovered a technical error in the warrant and the case was dismissed."

The University of California's Blue and Gold yearbook for 1924 mercilessly mocked Roy Chanslor in their "Depredation"

The printer had also been arrested and released.  Still, Roy was expelled from the University less than six months before graduation.  The expulsion was unfair, he felt, since the magazine wasn't a college publication.  "Some people may not like the ideas expressed in the magazine, but that does not constitute impropriety or obscenity."  The May 15, 1923 issue of THE TEMPEST mentioned that Roy Chanslor would be leaving for Europe the next week.  "The authorities at California didn't seem to like him."  He moved to Paris.

When he returned to America, Roy worked in New York and Washington as a reporter, sports writer and proofreader.  He also reviewed movies and books.  After his stint in journalism, Roy began writing screenplays for Hollywood pictures in the early 1930s.  He wrote scripts, stories, dialogue and additional material for some 60 movies over the next three decades.  He also wrote dime novels, starting with LOWDOWN (1931).  Later efforts, JOHNNY GUITAR (1953) and CAT BALLOU (1956), were both made into movies (the latter posthumously), though neither brought Roy any personal fame.

The original story for THE GIRL ON THE FRONT PAGE (1936) was credited to Roy and Marjorie Chanslor.  It was probably Marjorie's only attempt at writing for the movies, but it seems her association with Roy brought her into contact with others in the trade.  According to an April 30, 1935 newspaper article, she was fined for an incident the day before at a Sunset Strip nightclub frequented by movie stars:

"Mrs. Marjorie Chanslor must pay $1,450 for hurling a cocktail glass at Lon Young, screen writer, at last New Year's Eve celebration at the Cafe Trocadero in Hollywood, Commissioner K .L. Kauffman ruled today. In awarding the judgment, Commissioner Kauffman divided the damages as $250 for loss of work by Young, $200 for medical services, $750 compensatory damages, and $250 by way of punishment."

It's hard to reconcile such a secretive woman with the rather conspicuous one making a scene in a Hollywood nightclub.

Children's Spring Book Festival poster

Sarah's Idea (1938)

Fortunately, Marjorie had already found her true calling: children's books.  She used the name Marjorie Torrey for SARAH'S IDEA (1938), written by Doris Gates.

Having parents who were both illustrators, it isn't surprising that Tom Torre Bevans developed into an artist himself.  He supplied the illustrations for FATHER'S DOING NICELY (1938), written by David Victor, and for WHERE, OH, WHERE? (1939), a children's book which he also wrote.  He joined publishers Simon and Shuster in 1939, and was promoted to vice-president in charge of production in 1947.  In 1950 he defected to Random House, where he was director of art and production.  His field of expertise was in designing books and covers.  Keeping art in the family, in 1938 he married Margaret Van Doren, a children's book illustrator, whose father, Carl Van Doren, would win a Pulitzer Prize for his biography on Benjamin Franklin a year later, and whose mother was Irita Bradford, editor of the New York Herald Tribune for almost four decades.

1940 saw the publication of OUR FIRST MURDER, a detective novel which Marjorie wrote as Torrey Chanslor.  It introduced elderly sisters Amanda and Lutie Beagle, who inherit their brother's detective agency.  A sequel, OUR SECOND MURDER, followed in 1941.  She also illustrated the covers of both books.  The novels were almost immediately reprinted in the Gold Seal Novel series, an 11" x 14" Sunday supplement to The Philadelphia Inquirer, which ran from 1934 to 1949.  A theatrical version of OUR FIRST MURDER, written for the stage by Robert Presnell, and to star ZaSu Pitts, was announced in 1940 in film trade magazines, and its debut was promised at various times in 1942, but it doesn't seem to have materialised.

"Our First Murder", reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 9, 1941, with a cover very similar to Marjorie's original design; "Our Second Murder" appeared in the October 12, 1941 issue; both bore covers by Ben Dale

Marjorie's cover for Our Second Murder (1941), written as Torrey Chanslor

Marjorie had a studio in her home in Encino, California, as well as a "special hideaway" in which to write, but she preferred working in a corner of the large living room, amidst the hustle and bustle of activity.  She was still a nighthawk, drawing and painting until dawn.

Sensible Kate (1943)

Far From Marlborough Street (1944)

Penny (1944)

Artie and the Princess (1945)

Girl reaching for Artie and the Princess; photo by Al Fenn, for Life magazine, 1946

The Merriweathers (1949)

The 1940s proved to be a productive period for Marjorie.  She wrote and illustrated four children's books: PENNY (1944), ARTIE AND THE PRINCESS (1945), THREE LITTLE CHIPMUNKS (1947), and THE MERRIWEATHERS (1949).  In addition, she collaborated once again with writer Doris Gates on two more children's books: SENSIBLE KATE (1943), and TROUBLE FOR JERRY (1944), a sort of sequel to SARAH'S IDEA.  She also illustrated FAR FROM MARLBOROUGH STREET (1944), written by Elizabeth Philbrook.  But her two most beloved books were SING MOTHER GOOSE (1945) and SING IN PRAISE (1946), both written by Opal Wheeler.  Marjorie's colour and black & white illustrations for these two delightful books were rewarded with an honour by the Caldecott Medal awards for best children's picture books.  Unfortunately, she didn't win the coveted medal itself.

Sing Mother Goose (1945)

Little Bo Peep, from Sing Mother Goose

"There was an old woman tossed up in a basket...", from Sing Mother Goose

Hot cross buns, from Sing Mother Goose

Sing in Praise (1946)

Carolling, from Sing in Praise

Illustration from Sing in Praise
Illustration from Sing in Praise

Marjorie's two detective novels weren't her only excursion into the adult field.  1952 saw the publication of SATURDAY NIGHT IS MY DELIGHT, which she published under the name Torrey Hood.  She supplied the cover illustration.

She also illustrated FAIRING WEATHER (1955), a children's novel written by Elspeth Bragdon, and FAVORITE NURSERY SONGS (1956), compiled by Phyllis Brown Ohanian, which was reprinted in an abridged version in 1966, with a new cover.

Fairing Weather (1955)

Favorite Nursery Songs (1956)

Lazy Mary, from Favorite Nursery Songs

Still, the 1950s was a less productive decade for Marjorie, and though she was aging the artist was at the peak of her powers, blessing us with her two greatest artistic achievements: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1955), and PETER PAN (1957), which would prove to be her swan song.  Both books were abridged by Josette Frank.  Marjorie's enthusiasm for the classic material is evident throughout.  Each illustration is a masterpiece of storytelling.  The real world melts away, drawing the reader into every scene.  It's easy to imagine that Lewis Carroll and J. M. Barrie would have been most pleased with the illustrations for their books.

Alice in Wonderland (1955), by Lewis Carroll

"Down, down, down...", from Alice in Wonderland

Drink me, from Alice in Wonderland

A caucus race, from Alice in Wonderland

Cheshire cat, from Alice in Wonderland

Peter Pan (1957)

Wendy sews on Peter's shadow, from Peter Pan

Teaching the Darling children to fly, from Peter Pan

"Wendy fluttered to the ground, with an arrow in her breast...", from Peter Pan

Peter kills Captain Hook, from Peter Pan

At 69, Marjorie may have been ready to retire.  Or it could be that she felt no desire to pick up her pencils and paint brushes after her divorce from Roy, to whom she'd been married some 20 years.  But Roy soon married again, to Elayne Hopper, whose husband, writer James M. Hopper, who was much older than she, died in August of 1956.  In 1957 Elayne renewed the copyright on some of her late husband's stories, as Elayne Hopper, and in 1958 as Elayne Hopper Chanslor.

Though he and his wife Elayne had a home in Carmel, California, Roy Chanslor was temporarily living in an apartment in New York City when he died of a heart attack April 16, 1964, at the age of 64.  He was there working on a movie script.

Marjorie died only a few months later.  The September 4, 1964 New York Times obituary was terse: "CHANSLOR - Marjorie Torrey (Marjorie Torrey Bevans).  If  you think of sending flowers, please keep them and look at them with a thought of her. She wanted no service and there will be none."  Marjorie's last wishes were typical of her discreet nature.  Her death, like her life, was cloaked in secrecy.  Did the New York Times even know who this once "noted illustrator" was?

In 1966, Tom Torre Bevans started renewing copyrights on some of his mother's books.  In 1991, he and his wife Margaret founded The Cornwall Chronicle, a monthly newspaper for the small town of West Cornwall, Connecticut.  Margaret died July 14, 1993.  Tom Torre Bevans died December 16, 2003.

One can only speculate as to why Marjorie employed so may pseudonyms throughout her career, all of them variations on her name: Marjorie Hood, Marjory Hood, Margery Hood, Marjorie Bevans, Marjory Bevans, Torre Bevans, M. T. Bevans, M. Torre, Marjorie Chanslor, Torrey Chanslor, Torrey Hood, Marjorie Torrey, etc.  The mendacity began at a very young age, and she remained elusive all her life, and even in death.  But she needn't be forgotten.