First appearing in 1938, Mary Worth is one of the longest-running continuity strips or "comic-page soap operas" — a genre dedicated to the millions of readers who thrive on continued stories told in brief daily episodes with cliffhanger endings.
Contrary to popular belief, Mary Worth is not a continuation of the Depression Era favorite Apple Mary. The strip was created as a replacement feature offered to newspapers when Martha Orr, who created the dowdy apple peddler, retired. The only thing the new title character had in common with her predecessor was a first name. She appeared as she is today: a well-spoken gentlewoman with a knack for quoting proverbs and surrounding herself with interesting people whose lives reflect the daily concerns of society.
Past stories have confronted social issues, such as juvenile delinquency, unwed motherhood, drug addiction, spouse abuse, alcoholism, infidelity, concerns of the elderly and the generation gap.
The reader is asked to remember that Mary Worth stories are not about Mary. They are about a continuing parade of people who enter Mary's life. If you look closely, you may recognize one of your neighbors — or even yourself.
Born “about 60-something years ago” in Jennings, OH, Mary is a graduate of Denison University, a former teacher and the widow of John “Jack” Worth, a Wall Street wizard who left a sensible portfolio providing her with a comfortable if not generous income. Although she once lived in New York City, Mary now makes her home in Santa Royale where she is an active volunteer at the local hospital. Thanks to her long occupancy, neighbors consider Mary the “unofficial manager” of The Charterstone Condominium Complex.
Victoria "Toby" Cameron
Mary’s close friend and neighbor at Charterstone. Toby is the “thirty-something” second wife of Professor Ian Cameron. Although she is an accomplished artist specializing in miniatures, Toby likes to spend many of her hours at Mary’s kitchen table, sipping coffee and discussing neighborhood gossip.
Ian Cameron, Ph.D.
Professor of English literature and creative writing at University of California at Santa Royale. Beneath the bluster and pomposity, this Scottish-born victim of “The Hemingway Complex” is a gentle teddy bear. Ian is the neighborhood “greeter” and, by his own modest admission, the resident expert on everything.
Jefferson Cory, M.D.
Jeff hopes (perhaps in vain) to become Mary’s “significant other” on a permanent basis. The widowed former chief of staff of the local hospital describes himself as semi-retired but continues to occasionally assist his physician children, daughter Adrian and son Drew. After returning from a charity work stint in Vietnam, he has become active in fundraising for overseas medical endeavors.
Mary’s friend and neighbor Wilbur is a divorced syndicated columnist and a sympathetic father to college student Dawn. His mild-mannered and sometimes befuddled ways belie a thoughtful and loyal persona.
A college student at the local university, Dawn lives with her father Wilbur at Charterstone. Having endured weight issues and bullying at her former school in Connecticut, she successfully moved on to a new life in Santa Royale that has seen her through several rocky romantic escapades.