Marian Krugman was born in Weehawken, New Jersey, on December 13, 1923, to Polish immigrants. Her family moved to Brooklyn, New York, during the depression. Krugman graduated from James Madison High School and then studied English and business at Hunter College in the Bronx from 1940 to 1943.
Krugman enlisted in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in December 1943 and attended basic training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in early 1944. Following basic, she was assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station in Santa Barbara, California, where she worked in a naval engineering office for approximately one year. Krugman then worked for a short time in a printing office before being assigned to clerical work in El Toro. She was discharged in February 1946.
After her discharge, Krugman married Arnold Krugman. She and her husband attended school in Brooklyn, New York, and then in Lexington, Kentucky, where she earned a master’s degree in English education. They lived in Canandaigua, New York, Knoxville, Iowa, and Martinsburg, West Virginia, before settling in Durham, North Carolina. Krugman graduated from library school in North Carolina in 1968. In the mid-1970s the couple moved to Lyons, New Jersey, where Krugman worked at the VA hospital with Vietnam and Desert Storm veterans.