Mary Grannan

Mary Grannan

Mary Grannan

Mary Grannan (1900–1975), the beloved children’s author and national radio personality known for her renowned works “Just Mary Stories” and “Maggie Muggins,” resided in a charming little cottage situated at 325 Brunswick Street in Fredericton.

Born on February 11, 1900, in Fredericton, Mary was the middle daughter of William Peter Grannan and Catherine Haney. Growing up with her parents and two sisters, she possessed a sharp wit and an insatiable curiosity about the world, which she skillfully employed to create humorous stories that entertained her friends, family, and students. Her teaching style, filled with captivating storytelling, garnered her recognition and admiration.

mary grannan home

Originally constructed in 1830 by Irish carpenter Patrick Haney, the cottage underwent gradual expansions in subsequent generations. Located in the heart of what was once called Fredericton’s “Irishtown,” the front section of the house holds historical significance.

Mary Grannan remains fondly remembered by those who experienced her charm. With her red braids, freckles, and cheerful demeanor, she captivated young radio listeners from the 1930s well into the television era.

Maggie Muggins, a beloved character, emerged from the imaginative mind of Mary Grannan, who initially found solace in storytelling when faced with the challenge of teaching arithmetic to her students at Devon Superior School in Fredericton. While Mary dedicated nearly two decades to teaching, she spent her summers attending courses in Boston and New York and participating in amateur theater.

just mary reader

When Radio Atlantic CFNB, first in the Maritimes, opened here, she began producing scripts for two shows, “Musical Scrapbook” and “Aggravatin’ Agatha.” The financial rewards were modest, $3 a week for the scripts and their performance; nonetheless, it served to supplement her Depression-era teaching salary of $700 a year. And it was a launching pad. 

Here’s a short scratchy old clip from the CFNB Archives of the Aggravatin’ Agatha program. 

In 1939, J. Frank Willis, a renowned broadcaster, discovered Mary’s work. Subsequently, the fledgling CBC network began airing episodes of “Just Mary,” featuring the beloved Maggie Muggins, on Sunday afternoons. This program became a cornerstone of Canadian children’s programming, running 44 episodes annually from 1939 to 1962.

Mary continued her career with CBC, contributing to both radio and television, until her retirement in 1962. By then, she had authored 30 children’s books and written over four thousand scripts for children’s entertainment. Her books achieved international recognition and success, being published in Canada, the United States, and England. Alongside “Maggie Muggins,” her notable productions included “The Children’s Scrapbook,” “The Land of Supposing,” “Sonnie and Susie,” “Kim and Katy,” “Jubilee Road,” “Digger Jones,” “Summer Days with Don and Debbie,” and “Karen Discovers America.” Of course, “Just Mary” remains one of the best-selling series of all time.

Mary Grannan

In 1954, “Maggie Muggins” became a TV show, too. Mary Grannan was nothing, if not prolific.

Maggie Muggins

Mary Grannan’s creative endeavors extended beyond children’s books, as she authored 29 additional books and numerous weekly radio shows. Noted for her fashionable attire, she remained a proud Frederictonian throughout her life.

In 1975, Mary Grannan passed away at her cherished home and was laid to rest in the Hermitage Cemetery, leaving behind a legacy of joy and imagination for generations to come.

Mary Grannan headstone

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