Born Martha Jane Jones, May 27, 1917 in Louisville, Kentucky, to Evan Jones and his wife, the former Noreen Sorrell. When her mother Noreen died in the 1918 flu pandemic, Martha was a year and a half old, and with her young father unable to care for her, she was raised by her paternal grandparents Evan Jones and his wife Elizabeth or Lizzy, who were of Welsh and Scottish extraction.
She grew up in the Portland, Louisville neighborhood, surrounded by a large upper-middle-class extended family, that was spread out along Portland Avenue and nearby streets. Her great-grandfather, W.O. Jones, and her grandfather, Evan Jones, were partners in a boiler works factory, C.J.Walton & Son, that employed some of her extended family as boilermakers, including her father, Evan Jones.
While she was still in the first grade, her grandfather would give her a quarter for each poem she wrote; growing up she had several poems published in Louisville newspapers and magazines, and at the age of 10, she won a national one-act play contest. Martha Jane attended the Louisville Public Schools, first at the Montgomery Street School through sixth grade, and then at Western Middle School, before graduating at the age of fifteen from J.M. Atherton High School for Girls, with First Honors. She won a scholarship to the University of Cincinnati's Drama School, the College-Conservatory of Music, which she attended for two years. While attending college, she wrote to Lynn Fontanne of the acting couple The Lunts, and was invited by Miss Fontanne to audition in New York for their newly formed repertory theater company.
As an actress in the 1940s and 1950s, Martha Jones made her Broadway debut with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in The Pirate in 1942, and was Miss Fontanne's protege. She appeared in Blithe Spirit (play), Arsenic and Old Lace, The Heiress, The Respectful Prostitute, and other plays, both on Broadway and on tour in the United States and Canada. In July 1943, she married actor Robert Emhardt, with whom she debuted in The Pirate, then appeared in Harriet with on Broadway.
After her first marriage ended, she married in Ralph Rofheart, an art director and advertising executive, by whom she had one child Evan, in 1957. Soon after her son was born, she chose to be a full-time mother, and she stopped pursuing acting. In the late 1960s she began working as a freelance advertising copywriter. In the early 1970s, Rofheart wrote a novel of Henry V of England, Fortune Made His Sword, which was purchased, by William Targ, then the Editor-In-Chief of G. P. Putnam's Sons. It was optioned as a Book of the Month Club selection for March 1972, published in the UK as Cry God For Harry, London : Talmy, . Critic Granville Hicks, reviewing Fortune Made His Sword in The New York Times Book Review, wrote that Rofheart "deftly avoids the dangers" of writing about a subject that's "Shakespeare territory". Gilbert Highet, writing in the Book of the Month Club News for February 1971, had this to say, "Martha Rofheart has used her historical knowledge and her creative imagination to give us a splendid full scale portrait of a mighty man".
After Fortune Made His Sword, Rofheart wrote five novels, Glendower Country, New York, Putnam , in the UK published as Cry God for Glendower, London : Talmy Franklin, , My Name Is Sappho, New York : Putnam, , Burning Sappho in the UK, London : Talmy Franklin, , a fictionalized theatrical family saga entitled The Savage Brood, New York : Putnam, ,The Alexandrian, New York : Crowell,  a novel of Cleopatra and Lionheart!: A Novel of Richard I, King of England, New York : Simon and Schuster, .
Based upon her, "outstanding contribution to Modern fiction", with the publication of Glendower Country, Rofheart was elected on November 21, 1974, A DAUGHTER of MARK TWAIN, by Cyril Clemens and the Mark Twain Journal.
She died in New York City in 1990.
Where to find Martha Rofheart online
My Name Is Sappho
by Martha Rofheart
Out of history, legend and the cloud drifts of Sappho's own poetry, Martha Rofheart has spun a dazzling tale---a life of high adventure, brutal war, political intrigue, and poignant romance. The dimly known era of Greece six centuries before Christ is illuminated in a lyrical and humanistic story of a woman whose enduring fame lies in her new conception of woman as an intellect and an artist.
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