J. Marvin Hunter, author, editor, and publisher, was born in Loyal Valley, Texas, on March 18, 1880, the son of Mary Ann (Calhoun) and John Warren Hunter. He spent his early boyhood in Voca, Camp San Saba, Mason, Menardville (later renamed Menard), and Fort McKavett. When in 1891 his father began to publish the Menardville Record, Hunter left school to work in his printshop. He later worked for the Mason Herald, which his father established in 1892.
By 1897 Hunter had left home and was working for the Llano Times. In December of that year he established his own paper, the Comfort Times, but discontinued it after only a few months. From then until 1899, except for a brief time as a sheepherder, he worked for a variety of mostly West Texas papers. In 1899 he took a job with Two Republics, a bilingual daily published in Mexico City. Within a year the Mexican government suppressed this paper, and Hunter fled back across the border to the United States. Thereafter, he printed papers in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. He abandoned the newspaper business only once, in 1907, when he owned a ranch in Kimble County for a few months. Hunter's wanderlust was not satisfied until 1921, when he settled in Bandera. There he published the Bandera New Era from 1921 until 1935 and the Bandera Bulletin from 1945 until his death. During his career he published sixteen papers, most of which were four-page weeklies that he hand-set. To supplement his income he sometimes printed brochures and other small publications on a contract basis.
As an amateur historian, Hunter published three historical magazines, Hunter's Magazine, Hunter's Frontier Magazine, and Frontier Times, which began respectively in 1910, 1916, and 1923. Using his newspaper presses, he reprinted a few works, including John Wesley Hardin's autobiography in 1925 and Andrew J. Sowell's Life of "Big Foot" Wallace in 1927. Hunter wrote several books and pamphlets, including Pioneer History of Bandera County (1922), The Bloody Trail in Texas (1931), Old Camp Verde, the Home of the Camels (1939), Cooking Recipes of the Pioneers (1948), Peregrinations of a Pioneer Printer (1954), his autobiography, and The Story of Lottie Deno (1959), which appeared posthumously. In addition he edited The Trail Drivers of Texas (1920, 1923) and coauthored the Album of Gunfighters (1951). In 1927 he founded the Frontier Times Museum. During his years in Bandera he promoted the town as a tourist attraction.
Hunter was a member of the Church of Christ. He married Hattie Westerman in February 1901. She died soon afterward, and he married Susie Rogers in December 1903. He and his second wife had four children, all of whom he trained as printers. Hunter died in Kerrville on June 29, 1957.