Muriel Fuller was born in Brooklyn Heights, New York on August 25, 1901, to Dr. David J. Fuller and Olive Beatrice Muir. Dr. Fuller had a dental practice and was a veteran of the Civil War (New Hampshire Volunteers). Olive Beatrice Muir was an author and the daughter of John Muir who founded a stock brokerage firm in New York in 1898. As a child Muriel developed a voracious appetite for reading which she attributed to her mother who had exposed her to a wide range of books and magazines. Olive’s familiarity with New York City theatre also whetted her daughter’s early passion for dramatic productions. Muriel attended many acclaimed performances like “The Wizard of Oz”, “The Red Mill”, and “Peter Pan” to name a few. The Fuller family left the friendly confines of Brooklyn Heights and came to settle in Hendersonville, North Carolina in 1909. Muriel graduated from Asheville High School in 1918, attended Temple University from 1918-1919, and received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Wheaton College (Illinois) in 1923. In 1923, Muriel accepted a secretarial post in the Children’s Editorial Department of the Rand McNally Company. Muriel was an astute employee and quickly learned how to interact with prospective authors, prepare jacket blurbs,and gained an understanding of bookmaking and editing. In 1926, Muriel left Rand McNally & Company and headed East to write a biography on her grandfather, John Muir. Her efforts came to fruition when the Knickerbocker Press published 'John Muir of Wall Street' in 1927. While preparing the book she became the associate editor of Book Trails until 1929. In 1929, Muriel became the Children’s Book Editor and assistant editor at Robert M. McBride Company until 1934. Ever restless, Muriel returned to Rand McNally & Company in 1934 and assumed the post as the eastern representative of Child Life. Between the 1940's and 1950's, Muriel worked for the McCall Corporation, Vanguard Press, Greystone Press, Thomas Nelson & Sons, and Abelard Press. In 1960, Muriel became the Book Review Editor for the Christian Herald Magazine. Muriel was instrumental in finding publishers for Margaret Landon, Frank Yerby, Hortense Landru, Virginia Voight, Edward Ormondroyd, Frances Cavanah, and Mary Wallace. Many of the authors were so enamored of Muriel’s professionalism that 15 books were dedicated to her.
Muriel had exhibited a flair for writing in her senior year at Wheaton College. She commenced her professional career by submitting book reviews to the Chicago Daily News under the editorship of Harry Hansen, and later under Keith Preston, Robert Ballou and Howard Vincent O’Brien. When Mr. Hansen went to the New York World-Telegram Muriel continued to write reviews for him and, in his absence, wrote the First Reader column in the aforementioned newspaper. Muriel wrote her first children’s book, 'The Book of Dragons', in 1931. She cleverly selected and edited 20 dragon tales from around the world. This compilation was critically acclaimed and warmly received. In 1932, Muriel co-authored 'Marko: the King’s Son, Hero of the Serbs' with Clarence Manning. Manning translated 40 Serbian ballads, while Muriel tailored the stories for an audience of older boys. 'Lady Editor: Careers For Women In Publishing' (1941) and 'The Runaway Shuttle Train' (1946) were two additional works that were welcomed by the general public. Muriel authored and/or co-authored a total of twelve books which had a fair distribution. Muriel had also managed to write biographical sketches of authors and editors of children’s books. Between 1935 and 1962 Muriel wrote over 65 profiles for Publishers’ Weekly and Wilson Library Bulletin where she highlighted the works of outstanding writers like Dorothy Bryan, Virginia Fowler, Dorothy Waugh, Ursula Nordstrom, and Ruth A. Knight. Muriel’s ultimate creative venture was as an instructor. It was in this capacity that she enthusiastically shared her knowledge of writing, editing, and publishing. Muriel taught writing at Hunter College of The City University of New York, Hofstra University, The New School For Social Research, and Columbia University. She also conducted short story workshops at the University of New Hampshire, University of Kansas City, Texas State Teachers College, and Fordham University. Many of Muriel’s students later commented that her sessions were informative and highly inspirational. Muriel Fuller was two days short of her 95th birthday when she died of heart failure on August 23, 1996. She was a religious and multi-talented woman who touched the lives of many men, women, and children. It was her passion for life that enabled her to leave a creative mark on the world.
Muriel’s birth name was Olive Muiriel Fuller, but she later decided to shorten her name to Muriel Fuller.
This biographical sketch on Muriel Fuller was written by David Otis Fuller, Jr. and edited by Julio Luis Hernandez-Delgado.