Martha (Marty) Quinn, 1939-2018

Patrick Quinn

Martha Quinn, a founding member of Solidarity, passed away in San Leandro, California, on Monday, June 25th. She was 79 years old. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1939, she attended New Trier High school in Winnetka, Illinois, for two years and graduated from Ela-Vernon High School in Lake Zurich, Illinois, in 1956. She attended Beloit College for one year before transferring to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she became a well-known folksinger.

Marty Quinn, Evanston, circa 1985
Marty Quinn in ECCA tee shirt at Evanston 4th of July Parade circa 1985

Martha became a socialist in 1967 in Madison, and joined the Young Socialist Alliance there. She later joined the Socialist Workers Party. In Madison she was a founder of the Women’s Action Movement and was a leader of WAM’s campaign for free, 24-hour childcare. She was also active in the Anti-Vietnam War movement and was a member of AFSCME at the Madison Public Library where she worked as a librarian. In 1970 she was on the ballot in Wisconsin as the Socialist Workers Party candidate for the U.S. Senate.

In 1974, with her then-husband Patrick and their two daughters, Abra and Rachel, she moved to Evanston, Illinois where she was a librarian at the Evanston Public Library and a member of AFSCME. She was a member of the Chicago branch of the Socialist Workers Party and was a founding co-chair of the Evanston Committee on Central America. When the Sandinista revolution occurred in Nicaragua she traveled there as a volunteer and worked on the literacy campaigns and set up libraries. She also traveled to Cuba and traveled extensively in Mexico. In 1986 she was a founding member of Solidarity.

Several years ago she moved to Oakland, California, to be with her two daughters and two granddaughters. She is survived by her daughters, Abra and Rachel Quinn, her son-in-law Tim Marshall, and her two granddaughters, Ruby and Rosie Marshall.

Marty Quinn epitomized the young, compassionate advocates of the working class and of humanity who became committed revolutionary socialists during the 1960s and remained so for the duration of their lives.


2 responses to “Martha (Marty) Quinn, 1939-2018”

  1. Dennis Pauly Avatar
    Dennis Pauly

    I worked with Marty at the Evanston Library for many years. She was a great reference librarian and set the standard for the rest of us. Outside of the library she did a lot of humanitarian work and made the world a better place. My condolences to Abra and Rachel.

  2. Alan Wald Avatar
    Alan Wald

    Marty had her own unique way of being in the world. She was person of uncommon generosity, always friendly and responsive, as well as charming and intelligent. She was a stalwart throughout our countless Sisyphean attempts to help save Trotskyism from itself and then to develop a Marxist organization with a democratic and humane culture.