Vermont Folklife Center Middlebury Vermont

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Margaret C. MacArthur, 78, of Marlboro died Tuesday, May 23rd at home after a short illness. She was born in Chicago and lived throughout the United States while growing up. At the age of 16 she attended the University of Chicago where she met John, her husband of almost 60 years. They moved to Newfane in 1948, started a family and moved to their farm in Marlboro in 1951.

It was while living in Missouri as a child that she first started hearing the mountain ballads that were to become her life long passion. As she raised her family in Vermont her interest in the old songs continued to grow, especially songs that told stories of times past. She devoted much of the rest of her life to collecting, singing and recording these songs, as well as writing and performing songs of her own about New England folk life.

For her work with preserving the oral traditions she received many awards during her lifetime, including being designated a New England Living Art Treasure in 1985, being presented with a Senate Tribute by Jim Jeffords in 1997, and, most recently, being invited to sing at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center in 2005. When Margaret wasnít on the road performing she was mass producing her phenomenal home made bread, working in her beautiful gardens and living the simple life.

Besides her husband John of Marlboro she leaves four children, Johnny, of New Mexico, Dan, Gary and Megan of Marlboro, six grandchildren, and three siblings, Jim, Jack, and Sally of New Mexico. She was predeceased by a son Patrick in 1995.

Donations in Margaretís name may be sent to the Vermont Folklife Center, Margaret MacArthur Collection P.O. Box 442 Middlebury 05753, to help preserve and perpetuate her work with Vermont folk songs.

For more information on the Margaret MacArthur Collection Fund, please see here :: link

Additional Links:

The Brattleboro Reformer article on her passing :: link

Mark Greenberg's memorial to Margaret in the Times Argus :: link

Vermont Public Radio piece on Margaret :: link

To listen to audio of Margaret, please see :: here


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