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The late Dorothy Murphy Healy 

Dorothy Healy

Among Dorothy Murphy Healy's roles in life were those of turkey farmer, teacher and Director of Development for Westbrook College. But she is most noted and best remembered for her tireless efforts to collect and preserve the novels, stories, diaries, journals, letters and memorabilia of noted Maine women writers; and most especially for her loving diligence in uncovering the writings of many, many unsung Maine women who, in fact, were pioneers in many fields of literature.

From 1967 until her death in 1990, Mrs. Healy was curator of The Maine Women Writers Collection which she co-founded in 1959. Each year she gave between 50 and 60 public lectures on the Collection, and annually ran several conferences, book openings and literary receptions at the Collection's house in Westbrook College.

The extent and importance of the Collection cannot be overstated. From a modest beginning, it has expanded to more than 4,000 volumes. These volumes represent the work of over 400 Maine women writers and 200 additional authors whose publications are closely related in focus. In 1986, Down East magazine described the Collection as " extraordinary contribution to Maine's literary heritage ... probably the finest assemblage of its kind in the United States today." Of Dorothy Healy, Down East declares: "(this) literary treasure would never have been as valuable without the wisdom, energy and enthusiasm devoted to it over the years by its co-founder and (since 1967) its curator, office staff, and public relations director, all rolled into one."

Indeed, Mrs. Healy dedicated herself for over thirty years to securing rare and valuable materials, cataloging and caring for them and making their availability and existence known to the public. And while her great personal interest was in discovering writings from the nineteenth century, she eagerly acquired the latest works of many women who are currently enhancing Maine's literary reputation. But perhaps the most unique acquisitions in the Collection are the many works by Maine women who, though their names may not be familiar today, were true pioneers in a variety of literary fields. These authors were rescued from obscurity by Dorothy Healy.

Dorothy M. Healy is honored here for her dedication to the Maine women who wrote and the world of women who are now able to read and study these authors. Mrs. Healy has rescued women of the past, enlightened women of the present, and bequeathed a treasure to women of the future.

1988 Photograph

Inducted March, 1993