Mary MacLane Genius, Writer, Philosopher, Gambler, Thief, Journalist, Star

Mary MacLane (1881-1929) was a firebrand feminist, but she didn’t even know it. She merely thought of herself as a genius. She wrote her first book at age 19 and set 1901 America on fire. The Story of Mary MacLane sold 100,000 copies in its first few months and made her a wealthy woman. She was considered wild and uncontrolled, a reputation she nurtured, and was openly bisexual as well as a vocal feminist. She went on to a unique career as a journalist, gambler, Bohemian, prize-fight reporter, and finally wrote and starred in her own silent movie – Men Who Have Made Love to Me – before going into obscurity.

She confessed in books, articles, and interviews to petty thefts from family and family friends and was held as bailee for larceny in Chicago for failure to return clothing worn in her silent movie to a fashion designer. Newspapers report MacLane was bailed out by “wealthy acquaintances.”

She died in a residential hotel in Chicage in August 1929. The cause of death is unknown.