University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League), 3355 Woodland Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Wellesley College (Seven Sisters), 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. She married John Howell Williams. Williams graduated from Wellesley College (1907) and received a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania (1937). She worked as a reporter for The New York Evening Sun. She is best known for her critical biographies of Annie Besant and Helena Blavatsky which have received positive reviews. 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. 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). Gandhi suggested the book would "help in many ways to correct the wrong impressions which Miss Mayo has given."
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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