Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Famous 'Anna' author Margaret Landon born in Somers

Photo and Text Courtesy of Kenosha News, January 19, 1968 publication
"Somers, Wisconsin is a long way from Siam in miles and climate and people and customs, but one Somers native made the transition.
Her book, "Anna and the King of Siam" has delighted a generation of readers, and the subsequent stage play and movie (retitled "The King and I") has given theater audiences an insight into the country now known as Thailand.
That author, Margaret Mortenson Landon, was born in 1902 in the village of Somers and lived there for the first year or two of her life, but this fact was known until recently only among her relatives and a few others.
The house where Margaret Mortenson Landon was born is still standing, much as it was then.  With a room added at the front, it is now owned and occupied by Mrs. Ernest Tabbert.
Margaret Landon returned to visit the Racine-Kenosha area.  Her mother remained close to her two sisters, Mrs. Albert (Minnie) Bishop, and Mrs. Wilfred (Julia) Bush.
(Source:  Kenosha News January 19, 1968)

Margaret Landon, an American writer, also known as Margaret Dorothea Mortenson, was born to Anenus Duabus "A.D." and Adelle Mortensen in Somers, Wisconsin.  She was one of three daughters is a devout Methodist family.
Margaret became famous for Anna and the King of Siam, her 1944 novel of the life of Anna Leonowens.  Her book on Leonowens was published in 1944 and became an instant bestseller.  It eventually sold over a million copies and was published in more than twenty languages.  In 1950, Mrs. Landon sold the musical play rights to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, who created the musical The King and I from her book. 
She attended Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, graduating in 1925.  She taught school for a year, then married Kenneth Landon, who she knew from Wheaton, and in 1927 they signed up as Presbyterian missionaries to Thailand.
Bewtween 1927-1937, Landon raised her three children while running a mission school in Trang and read extensively about the country.  During her readings, she learned about Ann Leonowens, the late-19th Century governess to the Siamese royal family.  When the Landon family returned to American in 1937, she soon began writing articles and then began researching material for a book on Leonowens.
Margaret Landon was married 67 years.  She died in Alexandria, Virginia, December 4, 1993, aged 90, leaving 13 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.  She is interred in Whaton Cemetery in Illinois.
(Source:  Wikipedia) 

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