Queer Places:
Wellesley College, 106 Central St, Wellesley, MA 02481
Stapeley Hall, 6300 Greene St, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Gertrude Marvin Williams (July 10, 1884 – April 16, 1974) was an American biographer and journalist. She was a member of the Heterodoxy Club.

Williams was born Gertrude Leavenworth Marvin on July 10, 1884. Her parents were Rev. Walter Marvin and Grace Marvin.[1] She married John Howell Williams. Williams graduated from Wellesley College (1907) and received a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania (1937).[2] She worked as a reporter for The New York Evening Sun.[2] She is best known for her critical biographies of Annie Besant and Helena Blavatsky which have received positive reviews.[3][4][5][6] In 1931 she wrote “The Passionate Pilgrim,” the life of Annie Besant, a theosophist leader, followed in 1947 by “Priestess of the Occult,” the life of Madame Blavatsky, a founder of the Theosophical Society.

Williams travelled over 6,000 miles in India for five months in 1928. She travelled by herself without servants, spending time in homes, markets and villages.[7] She interviewed Mahatma Gandhi and other Indian nationalists and spent time with people from different social classes. She described her observations in her book Understanding India (1928).[8] Gandhi suggested the book would "help in many ways to correct the wrong impressions which Miss Mayo has given."[9]

Williams was dean of women at Wilkes College, Wilkes‐Barre, Pa., from 1951 to 1953.

She died at Stapeley Hall, a home in Philadelphia. She was 89 years old.


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