Marie Grace deRepentigny Metalious

Graduating class of 1942

At Central, Grace Metalious was involved in numerous clubs and activities. The November 1942 issue of the Oracle, Central’s literary magazine, published a work by Grace entitled “Fuller Brush Man.” Shortly after leaving Central, Grace married George Metalious (Central ’41) whom she had met first in the 4"grade and then as a senior in high school at the Puritan. They had two daughters and a son. Grace simply loved writing. Her early childhood was characterized by a strong inclination, nurtured by her mother, for using her imagination by reading and writing. She published four novels. Undoubtedly, however, her most famous work is the novel Peyton Place. Set in a small New England town, it was first published in 1956 and sold 12 million copies the first year. Because of its great popularity, she was asked to write a sequel, Return to Peyton Place. Both novels later became Hollywood movies and television serials. Despite the fame and notoriety brought on by her famous works, Grace Metalious died in 1964, at the premature age of 36. But she will always be remembered for bringing to light the needs, desires and even flaws of a small New England town. R. Perrault wrote that “in spite of national fame, she never forgot her roots and referred often to her years at Central.” Further, “the passage of time should at the very least allow present-day readers to reexamine her life and to reevaluate her works from a more objective standpoint, free from the bias of sensationalism and condemnation which clouded Peyton Place and which caused Metalious’ subsequent novels to be ignored or forgotten.” The reevaluation is happening. Emily Toph of Penn State University has written a biography. The NH Humanities Council chose it as the second book in a program of readings and discussion (Thornton Wilder’s Our Town was the first). At the insistence of a University Professor, Peyton Place has been rereleased, and University scholars from UNH and the University of Maine are using her writings in college English courses.