Myra Page on Sorokin


‘In a Generous Spirit’ (Myra Page; excerpts)


Posted here (PDF above) are excerpts from In a Generous Spirit: A First-Person Biography of Myra Page, by Christina Looper Baker (University of Illinois Press, 1996)

Myra Page studied under Sorokin at the University of Minnesota.



adapted from Wikipedia:

Myra Page was the pen name of Dorothy Markey (born Dorothy Page Gary, 1897–1993), an American communist writer, journalist, union activist, and teacher.

Page was born in Newport News, Virginia. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Westhampton College (now the University of Richmond). She taught school in Richmond and then began graduate studies at Columbia University. She studied anthropology under Franz Boas, Melvin Herskovitz, and Franklin Giddings. She also took a class under John Dewey at Columbia’s Teacher’s College and attended courses given by theologians Harry Emerson Fosdick and Henry F. Ward at Union Theological Seminary. In 1920, she obtained a masters with a thesis that analyzed the effect of New York newspaper coverage on the Spanish–American War.

While a graduate student, she became active in the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), which at that time championed reform in race relations. Influenced by Social Gospel, she “developed an antiracist consciousness and chafed against the restrictions imposed upon her as a southern white woman.” Upon completing her master’s degree in 1920, Page became a YWCA “industrial secretary” at a silk factory in Norfolk, Virginia and organized education for women workers.

Giddings had introduced Page to the Rand School of Social Science, where she had met Anna Louise Strong, Mary Heaton Vorse, and Scott Nearing. In 1921, she returned to New York from Norfolk and studied further under Nearing at the Rand School; at that time, she first read The Communist Manifesto.

She then took a factory job in Philadelphia and became a union organizer for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union (ACW). She worked at several jobs including pants seamstress and secretary. . In the spring of 1924, she returned to the New York area, became a teacher of American History in Teaneck, New Jersey, joined the American Federation of Teachers, and became one of its leaders.

In fall 1924, she got a teaching fellowship in the History Department of the University of Minnesota, chaired by F. Stuart Chapin. Pitirim Sorokin was a professor there. She married fellow teacher and fellow John Markey.

In June 1928, Page earned her Ph.D. in Sociology with double minor in Economics and Psychology from the University of Minnesota. In the fall of 1928, she accepted a teaching position at Wheaton College.

At the end of the 1929–1930 academic year, Page and her husband left Wheaton College. Page became a political journalist and writer and wrote for Communist publications such as the Daily Worker.

Page spent two years in Moscow, whence she wrote for American socialist journals as well as the Soviet communist publication Moscow News. She also wrote a novel Moscow Yankee (1935) there.

Upon their return to the States in 1933, Page and her husband lived in Brooklyn, New York. Page joined the editorial board of Soviet Russia Today, a Soviet-backed magazine, and the League of American Writers. In March 1937, she interviewed Andre Malraux for his views on the Spanish Civil War.

Page eventually left the Communist Party: “I left the Party in 1953, having lost faith that it could do the job it was supposed to do. My disillusionment was gradual… Gradually, we just plain lost confidence in the party.”


— posted by Roger W.  Smith

     July 2022