|May Sarton was born Eleanor Marie Sarton to a Belgian father and an English mother. The family moved to the U.S. when she was 4; her father taught at Harvard, her mother was an artist and designer. Sarton was educated in Cambridge in Boston, but rejected college in favor of acting at the Civic Repertory Theatre in New York City. She taught at various schools and colleges (including Harvard and Bryn Mawr) off and on until 1964, when she began to write full time, giving readings. In 1965 she emerged as a lesbian. Sarton wrote a total of 19 novels, many volumes of poetry and autobiography, two children's books, and a play. Revered as a mentor and guru to her large unofficial fan club, she gained most of her fame through her journals, which traced the day-to-day course of her life, beginning when she was in her mid-50s and continuing nearly to her death, at 83, from breast cancer at her house in Maine. Her last book, "At Eighty-Two", was published the year after her death.