Since coming to St. Olaf in 1965, Mary Steen has enjoyed the pursuit of prose, both fiction and nonfiction. An eager and eclectic reader, she has taught Reading for Life, and, more recently, Fiction Down Under. She has also taught more sections of first-year writing than she can count, as well as other forms of prose writing: science writing, journalistic writing, and creative nonfiction.
For her own writing, Mary has followed her avocational work as a handspinner, weaver, paper-maker, and dyer into the social history of fiber arts; she has published an article on sericulture in the United States, and one on Eliza Lucas Pinckney, an 18th-century woman who introduced indigo to the colonies. Combining her interest in civic affairs with writing and editing, she is currently in her fourth term as editor of the Minnesota Voter, a quarterly publication of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota.
Mary and her husband Lynn, a mathematician, have traveled all over the world, from Scandinavia to South Africa, China to New Zealand and Australia. They currently make frequent trips to California and Texas to visit their two grown daughters and their families: Margaret is a freelance journalist in the Silicon Valley area of California, and Catherine works in a day care center in Texas. Grandchild count: grandsons, 5; granddaughters, 0.