Barbara Frances Webb was born in California before the turn of the twentieth century in 1897 or ’98. Her parents, Charles and Edith Webb, moved the family to Ohio sometime between 1900 and 1904.
At Stivers High School, Barbara became a stand out student, actress, poet, and writer, with a great sense of humor. At various times she was Chairman of the Social Committee, President of the Drama Club, and Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Stylus’, the school newspaper.
Barbara wrote the words to our school song the “Good Ship Stivers High.” She is quoted in the 1915 Stivers yearbook describing herself as “A well meaning dunce with the best of intentions.” She was anything but a dunce.
After graduating from Stivers, Barbara was hired by the Cleveland Plain Dealer where she worked with Monte Bourjaily. They were married in 1920 and had three children, Vance Bourjaily, a novelist; Monte Bourjaily, associate editor of the Army Times; and Dr. Paul Webb, M.D.
Barbara and Monte moved East, living in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. While the children were small, she continued her writing at home; but in 1934 her marriage ended in divorce. Monte became a fairly well known writer himself and in 1936, with his three sons, was invited to breakfast at the White House with Eleanor Roosevelt.
Barbara married Schuyler Larkin in the mid 1930’s and lived on a dairy farm in Virginia, but that marriage also ended in divorce.
From 1925 until 1957, Barbara Webb wrote the following: “Mother Gooses’ Secrets” (1925); “The Mother’s Cook Book” (1926); “Three Who Were Strong” (1933); “Pedigree of Honey” (1934); “Alleta Laird” (1935); “Misty Mountain” (1936); “A Whippoorwill’s Cry” (1936); “Coming Round the Mountain” (1936); “Flight From Yesterday” (1937); “Love’s Choice” (1939); “A Christmas Star for Olga”(a one act play in 1939); and “Story Telling For You” (a hand book of help for story tellers everywhere with Ruby Ethel Conduff in 1957).
From the mid 1950’s to 1964 Barbara came back to Yellow Springs, Ohio, numerous times to visit her son, Paul, and grandchildren. “Mappy”, as she was affectionately known by family, loved telling children’s stories to her grandchildren and at libraries.
In 1999 Barbara’s son, Paul, wrote, “Mappy liked people. She got involved with the community. She had experienced much and expected much of others. She stayed busy and curious until a brain tumor ended her life. Those who knew her remember vividly this energetic, free-spirited woman.”
Barbara died in 1964 at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. Her obituary appeared in the New York Times on September 12, 1964.