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Marjorie Barr O'Steen Family Collection: Biography
O'Steen and Webb Girls
Photograph from Marjorie Barr O'Steen Family Collection.
Left to Right: Marjorie Helen Webb, Marjorie Barr O'Steen, Marjorie O'Steen Webb

Marjorie McIver Barr O’Steen (often referred to as “MBO” in this collection) was born to George T. and Mary “Mamie” Bridges Barr on November 24, 1896 in Greenville, S.C. When Marjorie was two her mother died of tuberculosis. Her father married second, Anne Leila Hollis, and they had a daughter, Marjorie’s half-sister, Annie.

Marjorie attended Greenville High School graduating in 1911 and then attended Winthrop College. On October 18, 1914 she eloped with William T. O’Steen (1894-1966) and on November 26, 1915 their only daughter, Marjorie Barr was born in Morganton, N.C. After living in Griffin, Ga. for a few years during the late 1920s the O’Steens returned to Greenville. Marjorie wrote a column for the Greenville News from 1930 until 1963, first titled “Whatnot” and then “Of This and That.”

Marjorie lived in New York for one year during the time her daughter was at Vanderbilt (1933-37), and wrote Unto These Hills, a historical fiction novel describing the lives of families who came down from the mountains to work in the cotton mills in the Upstate, but the 700-page book was never published. From June to July of 1959 Marjorie took a trip to Europe where she visited England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Switzerland, Italy, and France. In 1961 she became ill with cancer and moved in with her daughter after treatment at Vanderbilt Hospital. Marjorie fought the disease for three years before she died in 1964. William was a veteran of WWI and had been associated with the F. W. Poe Manufacturing Company of Greenville, and had served as a manufacturing agent for the Textile Division of the A.E. Staley Starch Company of Illinois. William T. O’Steen died in 1966.

Marjorie “Boots” Barr O’Steen (1915-2007) attended Vanderbilt University from 1933-1937 where she was a member of the Theta Sorority and received a B.A. degree. On October 8, 1938 she married Dr. John Kilgo Webb (1912-2007) and they had four daughters: Marjorie, Mary, Laurie, and Jane. Dr. Webb was a graduate of Wofford and a surgeon. In 1940 Marjorie O’Steen Webb became a certified medical technician. Dr. John Kilgo Webb, or “Kilgo” as he was called, served in WWII in Germany. In the 1940s the Webbs moved to Raeford, N.C. where Dr. Webb was stationed at Ft. Bragg, then after a couple of years to Waltham, Mass. and finally to Houston, Tex. where Dr. Webb worked at Baylor Hospital. In the late 1950s the family returned to Greenville.

The collection’s connection to Furman comes through Marjorie Barr O’Steen’s mother, "Mamie" Barr, who attended Greenville Female College with her sister, Alice. Mary Simms Furman, wife of Alester G. Furman III, was also a member of the Tuesday Study club with Marjorie Barr O’Steen.