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In a February 12, 1934 letter to his brother Thomas, John O'Hara wrote:

"I kept a diary once, in 1922-23, and I'll never forget the year. That was a great year; I was home from school, between Kutztown and Niagra, and it was the first year Marg and I were in love."

Margaretta Archbald was the love of John O'Hara's life. Her family lived on Pottsville's upper Mahantongo Street. She was a wealthy, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, four years older than John.

There's a photograph of her in Matthew Bruccoli's The O'Hara Concern, taken in 1921, when she was at Bryn Mawr. She stands erect, feet close together, looks straight at the camera and  looks very self-assured.

For almost ten years Margaretta Archbald and John O'Hara had an intense, stormy, on-again-off-again relationship. Finally, she broke off with him, and her decision not to marry him was based on his ungovernable temper and drinking, not on his religion, money or age difference.

In 1933 Margaretta married Frederick Kroll, son of the Bishop of Haiti. I don't know whatever became of her; I believe at one time she served on the Bryn Mawr Board of Trustees.

References from Matthew Bruccoli's The O'Hara Concern and Pamela Mac Arthur's The Genteel John O'Hara.

I believe that all of the Irish-Catholic John O'Hara's girl friends and wives were Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

Margaretta Archbald was the inspiration for the short story Winter Dance, one of my very, very favoriteswhich I want to discuss in another post.

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