From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Van Dunk, Mary F. Gunner

(born: November 9, 1894  -  died: May 13, 1954) 

Mary F. Gunner Van Dunk was born in Lexington, KY. She and her family moved to New York where she was valedictorian of her class at Suffern High School. Mary Gunner was the only African American student in her class. She would go on to become a graduate of Middlebury College, Howard University and Columbia University. Gunner was a teacher from 1915-1918. She held several posts with the Y.M.C.A. before becoming an employee of the New York State Employment Service in 1938 and advancing to branch manager in 1944.

Gunner was a playwright, and she was author of The Light of the Women published by Woman's Press in 1930. Gunner was the first woman to be featured in "Men of the Month" in 1911; the column was run in the Crisis to represent the fitness of the African American race.

Mary F. Gunner Van Dunk died in Brooklyn, NY, and she is buried in Sloatsburg Cemetery. She was the daughter of Byron and Cicely Gunner. She was the wife of Jerry Van Dunk. 

For more see Southern Black Creative Writers, 1829-1953. Biobibliographies, compiled by M. M. B. Foster; Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; Creating the Modern Man, by T. Pendergast; Who's Who in Colored America, 1950. For more on the Employment Service see The New Deal and the unemployed: the view from New York City, by B. Blumberg. See Mary Frances Gunner Van Dunk at Find A Grave.

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“Van Dunk, Mary F. Gunner,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-11-09 21:41:47