Martha Morton

Playwright Martha Morton created textured and challenging roles for women and earned over a million dollars for her work throughout her lifetime. Morton attended Normal College (now Hunter College) and began writing at an early age. When theater managers refused to produce a woman’s work, she entered a contest under the name Henry Hazelton, winning $5,000 for her play The Merchant in 1891 before selling the play for an additional $15,000. She followed this with three more wildly successful plays in three years, Brother John, His Wife’s Father, and A Fool of Fortune. In her plays, she regularly created strong, independent, but realistic heroines. Her plots ranged from romantic comedy to the drama of the Russian Revolution. In 1907, denied membership to the American Dramatists Club because of her gender, she created the Society of Dramatic Authors, which was open to both men and women. Resisting expectations of women writers, Morton took a firm hand in production, often casting and directing her own work. Several of her plays were revived many times, including 1907’s The Movers and 1915’s Three of Hearts.

Topics: Theater, Plays

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Martha Morton from the 1897 book, American Women: Fifteen Hundred Biographies, published by Mast, Crowell & Kirkpatrick.

Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Martha Morton." (Viewed on April 20, 2021) <>.


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