Margaret L. Elwell, 83, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951 for her biography of 19th century Southern politician John C. Calhoun, died March 15 at a nursing home in Amesbury, Mass. The cause of death was not reported.
Born in Norwich, Conn., and raised in North Carolina, Elwell became intrigued by Calhoun, a congressman and vice president under two presidents who became the preeminent antebellum political figure of the South and later a symbol of the lost cause of defending slavery.
After college at the University of North Carolina, and a decade of researching Calhoun, Elwell wrote “John C. Calhoun: American Portrait.” It was published in 1951 under her maiden name, Margaret Louise Coit.
Elwell published seven more historical books, including “Sweep Westward, 1829-1849,” “Andrew Jackson” and “Mr. Baruch,” a biography of financier Bernard Baruch.
She taught English, history and political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and Bunker Hill Community College in Massachusetts. She also worked as a freelance newspaper reporter.