Mildred Butler Engdahl, 1897-1987
Sylvia Engdahl's mother
A Memorial by Sylvia Louise Engdahl


Recently it struck me how strange it is that there are hundreds of memorials for pets on the Web, but few if any for people. Apart from tributes to well-known men and women, I can find only a handful. How is it that I myself have long had a page remembering cats no longer with me, yet none in memory of my mother--who for most of my life was my closest friend and companion?

I suppose most people share memories of loved ones with family and friends. But I have few if any contacts with people who knew my mother, so I want to give her more of a memorial than simply the dedication to my book Enchantress from the Stars. Twice Queen of France jacket

She too was a writer for young people, and some libraries still have her books. Under her maiden name Mildred Allen Butler, she wrote two YA biographies, Actress in Spite of Herself: the Life of Anna Cora Mowatt (Funk & Wagnalls, 1966) and Twice Queen of France: Anne of Brittany (Funk & Wagnalls, 1967; a Junior Literary Guild selection; UK edition, Bailey Brothers and Swinfen, 1972) plus two historical YA novels, Rapier for Revenge (Funk & Wagnalls, 1969) and Ward of the Sun King (Funk & Wagnalls, 1970). But she didn't begin this until her late 60s, at a time when young people's interest in historical books was on the wane; otherwise she would have written many more.

Twice Queen of France ebook I have made Twice Queen of France: Anne of Brittany available as an e-book at Amazon com, Smashwords, and other retailers. As it's about a strong, independent woman who became the ruler of a duchy when only 12 and by her early 20s had married two French kings, it will be of interest to girls today. Actress in Spite of Herself, Rapier for Revenge and Ward of the Sun King, plus her posthumously-published The Disobedient Queen: Katherine of Valois are now also available in e-book form. Mildred Allen Butler, 1915


Mildred Allen Butler was born in 1897 in New England, where she spent her childhood. During her teen years her family lived in St. Louis, returning each summer to Heron Island off the coast of Maine (on stories of which I grew up). She attended Wellesley College and after graduation, taught high school English for several years.
Mildred Allen Butler, 1927 However, her major interest was in drama, especially community theater work, and she left teaching to become the director of the Little Theatre League of Richmond, Virginia (1925-1927) and the Portland Civic Theatre of Portland, Oregon (1927-1929). She then moved to Los Angeles, married, and later directed the Cheviot Hills Community Players there. She earned a master's degree in drama during a year when we both attended the University of Oregon, and again was a director at the Portland Civic Theatre in the mid-1950s. She also directed many Children's Theater productions in Oregon and in Santa Barbara, and published some plays for children. Mildred Butler Engdahl, 1965

My mother and I were very close, not only while I was growing up, but always. During my adult life we were more like sisters than mother and daughter, despite our 36-year age difference. We took two long trips to Europe together. Though I had my own apartment for a few years, I gave it up as soon as we could settle in the same city, and from then on we jointly rented or bought our homes. Her own mother, my grandmother, lived with us until her death in 1965 at the age of 101. We had a live-in helper to care for her, and when, after she was gone, Mother did not want to be alone all day while I worked, I welcomed the opportunity to become my mother's full-time companion and thus gain time to write. Mildred and Sylvia Engdahl, 1969

It proved to be an ideal arrangement. We moved back to Portland, which I had always preferred to Southern California, and for a while we both were publishing (here we are correcting galleys!) But as Mother aged, she developed health problems, and so for the last decade of her life we were both virtually homebound. Her mind remained sharp, and she continued to be my best friend despite her physical limitations. Mildred and Sylvia Engdahl, 1981

In this picture she was 84 years old. That was the year I got my first home computer. The one below was taken a year later.
Mildred Butler Engdahl, 1982

Mildred Butler Engdahl died in 1987, when she was 90. I will never stop missing her, and wishing she were here to share my later life and see the new editions of my books and hers.





Ebook editions of books by Mildred Allen Butler

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and others
(Click on covers for descriptions)


Sylvia Engdahl's Home Page: www.sylviaengdahl.com