Marion Barnes Meisel Papers
Marion Barnes Meisel was born Mary Hall Barnes in 1874 to James Jethro Barnes and Cornelia V. Hall Barnes in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the second oldest and only girl of four children. Her father was a prominent figure, serving as a City Councilman and Sheriff in Atlanta in the late nineteenth century. Little is known about Meisel's childhood.
Marion Barnes studied piano intermittently between 1895 and 1901 at C.A. Klemm's Musikalen-Sortiment in Leipzig, Germany. During this time she was courted by a violinist from Missouri named Victor Lichtenstein. In 1902, at age 28, she married Guido Meisel, a German chemist. They resided primarily in New York City and Boston. Marion studied photography at the Clarence H. White school of photography and became part of a community of elite photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz and Arthur D. Chapman. She worked primarily as a portrait photographer during the World War I period. Guido was convicted of commercial espionage in 1928, having sold chemical information to the Germans. This resulted in their separation and his permanent residence in Germany. They had no children.
After Guido's conviction, Marion moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, where she owned the Treasure Chest Tavern and Antique Shop which served the Vassar College community. She then moved to Weston, Vermont around 1935 to open the Hitching Post, a country inn. Marion also wrote poetry upon moving to Vermont, some of which was published in small magazines such as The Florida Magazine of Verse and Driftwinds. Her writing culminated in the publication of her only book, As The Pendulum Swings, published by Driftwinds Press in 1946. Cats were an important part of Marion's life and while living in Vermont she began working as a cat breeder.
Around 1948, when she was 74, Marion moved to South Londonderry, Vermont and then to Acworth, New Hampshire in 1951. Around 1959, at age 85, Marion moved back to New York City where she remained until her death in 1965 at age 91.