Martha “Marty” Daniels lives on Mulberry Plantation in a cottage she built at the edge of a rustic Carolina millpond. She and her family are devoted to the plantation’s preservation. Founded in the 1750s, Mulberry is a National Historic Landmark designated for its contribution to American history as the home of James and Mary Boykin Chesnut.
In 2012, Daniels received the Allan D. Charles Award for Nonfiction from the University of South Carolina for Mary Chesnut’s Illustrated Diary. A guest on C-Span2 Book TV and Walter Edgar’s Journal on National Public Radio, she was a featured speaker on Mary Chesnut at the South Carolina Humanities Council and the University of South Carolina’s literary festival. She has also been a popular speaker at the Atlanta History Center, the Charleston Library Society, and the Twin Cities Civil War Roundtable.
Daniels graduated from Garrison Forest School and attended Sarah Lawrence College and Harvard Extension School. She has devoted some forty years of her life to philanthropy in the United States and Canada and established her own consulting firm for natural history and wildlife preservation organizations, museums, colleges, and arts organizations.
An amateur naturalist, she spent many years doing fieldwork and migratory banding with the Falcon Research Group and was a member of the team for Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s research on the ivory-billed woodpecker in the bayous of Arkansas. She served on the boards of the Avian Conservation Center near Charleston, South Carolina, and the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation.
Daniels is the president of the Martha W. Daniels Foundation, which supports research, historical, and educational activities at Mulberry Plantation’s archives. She and her family donated Mary Chesnut’s collection of Civil War photographs to the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina, where the photographs were reunited with Chesnut’s original manuscripts. In her position as a historian, she is guiding the transcription of Revolutionary War-era documents at Mulberry.