The daughter and wife of prominent Harvard professors, Marian Cannon Schlesinger could have led an insular life. Although she has lived most of her life in a small area of Cambridge near the Harvard campus, she has ranged far and wide through her travels and art.
After she graduated from Radcliffe in 1934, Schlesinger lived for a year in China with her sister, Wilma Cannon Fairbank, and brother-in-law, John King Fairbank, for whom Harvard’s Fairbank Center is named. Later she worked in New York and traveled to Guatemala, where she lived on a coffee plantation. In 1940 she married Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who became a Harvard professor and a member of the Kennedy Administration, and moved to Washington for several years. All the while, she was painting and observing the political scene.
Today, Schlesinger lives in the house on Irving Street where she raised her three children, near the house where she grew up. Her landscapes and portraits line the walls and she continues to paint.
A writer and voracious reader, Schlesinger published the second volume of her memoirs at age 99. Often when she goes to bed at night, she takes her Kindle with her, to continue reading.