Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Grace Keon (1873-1952)

Pseudonym of Mary Grace Wallace Doonan
Aka G.K. Doonan, Mary Wallace
Author, Poet, Playwright, Editor, Proofreader, Catholic Missionary
Born October 24, 1873, Manhattan, New York
Died October 29, 1952, West Shokan, New York

Grace Keon was a pseudonym of Mary Grace Wallace Doonan, an American author born on October 24, 1873, in New York City to Irish-American parents. Her father was William Wallace, a driver; her mother was Ann Keon, from whom Grace derived her nom de plume. Grace Keon was also known as G.K. Doonan and Mary Wallace.

Mary Grace worked as a proofreader early in life and became a published author as early as 1904 with her book The Ruler of the Kingdom and Other Phases of Life and Character. She followed that with Not a Judgment (1906) and The Life on Earth of Our Blessed Lord, Told in Rhyme, Story and Picture for Little Catholic Children (1913). Grace Keon specialized in Catholic literature and had several stories published in Catholic World and Extension Magazine from 1915 to 1933. Her other works included The Ruby Cross (a mystery, 1917), The Tiger of the Desert (a play, 1917), Just Happy: The Story of a Dog--and Some Humans (1920), Broken Paths (1923), The High Road (1930), Stars in My Heaven (1941), The Story of Doctor King (1944), and Love Is Strong (date unknown). She was associated for many years with the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Grace Keon did not contribute to Weird Tales. However, she wrote three stories for Oriental Stories/The Magic Carpet Magazine in 1932-1933. Her first, "The Dance of Yesha," was reprinted in The Daily Mail on October 12, 1935.

Mary Grace was married to James Francis Doonan, who worked for P.J. Kennedy & Sons of Manhattan, a Catholic publishing house. Doonan's obituary called him "one of the foremost authorities on Catholic literature in the United States." Born in 1868, James F. Doonan died in 1934 in Queens, New York. He was survived by his wife and their six sons.

Mary Grace Doonan lived in Corona, New York, for thirty-seven years, then ten more years in West Shokan. She died at her home in West Shokan on October 29, 1953, five days after her seventy-ninth birthday. She lies buried in Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens, alongside her husband.

Grace Keon's Stories in Oriental Stories/The Magic Carpet Magazine
"The Dance of Yesha" in Oriental Stories (Winter 1932)
"The Maid of Mir" in The Magic Carpet Magazine (Jan. 1933)
"The Gardens of the Nawwab" in The Magic Carpet Magazine (Apr. 1933)

Further Reading
Listing for Mary Grace "Grace Keon" Wallace Doonan on Find A Grave, here.
Listing for her husband, James Francis Doonan, on Find A Grave, here.

Updated August 2, 2017.
Thanks to John Herrington for locating the Find A Grave listing for Grace Keon.
Text and captions copyright 2014, 2023 Terence E. Hanley

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