Marion Lena Starkey graduated from Boston University, where she also earned a master's degree, and then did graduate work at Harvard University. She worked as an editor of the Saugus Herald from 1924 to 1929, before joining the staff of the English Department at Hampton Institute in Virginia. Her first book, The First Plantation: A History of Hampton and Elizabeth City County, Virginia, 1607–1887, was printed privately. During World War II, she served in the Women’s Army Corps and as a translator and editor for the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA) in North Africa and Europe. She returned to the USA after the war and became an assistant professor of English at the University of Connecticut, New London. In 1961, she quit to become a full-time writer. Her notable books included The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials (1949), The Tall Man from Boston (1975), The Visionary Girls: Witchcraft in Salem Village (1973), Cherokee Nation (1946), Land Where Our Fathers Died: The Settling of the Eastern Shores, 1607–1735 (1962), Striving to Make It My Home: The Story of Americans from Africa (1964), and The Congregational Way: The Role of the Pilgrims and Their Heirs in Shaping America (1966).