Mary Anne Butler has been journalist with a radio station as well as a metropolitan newspaper. She was also a public relations executive with a national firm and a consultant to a trade association. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and in an anthology published by Warner books. A portion of her memoir, Down But Not Out: A Little Rich Girl Grows Up Poor in the Great Depression was a prizewinner in a contest sponsored by the Society of Southwestern Authors. Formerly a resident of New Jersey, Butler now lives with her husband in Tucson, Arizona.
Butler's An American Trilogy: Five Generations of One Family Tell the Nation's Story, is based on her family history although most of the characters are fictitious. In the first novel, Journey to a Land Called Hope the protagonist is representative of her first ancestor who emigrated from Germany in 1750. After an altercation with the English captain, the ship stops for repairs in New London, Connecticut, where young Heinrich Mueller jumps ship. He is taken in as a day laborer by two locals, one of whom has a fetching daughter. The other is an educated freed slave who teaches him to read and write English. Both experiences change his life even as he acquires a stern-visaged German wife and together they travel west to carve a farm from the Pennsylvania wilderness.
In the second novel, Wilderness Road a handsome patent medicine peddler steals the heart of Lizzie Mueller, Heinrich Mueller's daughter, who is intent on breaking 19th century constraints that anchor women to home and hearth. But when a diamond and pearl ring links him to two violent crimes, sending him to jail, the devastated Lizzie leaves Baltimore and returns to her family. She marries a steady man for whom the Ohio frontier beckons. They leave a comfortable Maryland home to travel over the new National Road, funded in 1806 by the Federal Government, to encourage trade and settlement in the west. With hard work and terrible losses they finally establish a backwoods homestead in the new state.
The third novel of the trilogy, Broken Country/ Broken Soldier concerns the fourth generation about whom much more is known. It is based on Butler’s great grandfather who served nearly four years in the Civil War under Generals Grant and Sherman. His marriage to 18-year-old Martha was stormy. Although nine years younger than her husband, Martha was a feisty woman who eventually divorced him taking their three sons with her to run a small hotel. Although the couple remarried and had another son, tragedy continued to stalk them even as they prospered
Butler later turned from fictionalized accounts of her family to memoir. Down But Not Out: A Little Rich Girl Grows Up Poor in the Great Depression is about her experiences growing up as a child of The Great Depression. Taken together the four books tell a history of America in an easy-to-read charming fashion suitable for adults and older teens.Each story has several subplots that recreate life as it was lived in the United States from 1750 to 1950. All four works were thoroughly researched through books, museum and library visits and journeys to each of the locales mentioned.