Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Booth, Mary Louise

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BOOTH, Mary Louise, author, b. in Millville, now Yaphank, N. Y., 19 April, 1831; d. in New York city, 5 March, 1889. She was descended on her father's side from John Booth, who came to America about 1649, while her mother was the granddaughter of a refugee of the French revolution. At an early age she became a contributor to various journals. In 1845 and 1846 she taught in her father's school at Williamsburg, L. I., but gave up that pursuit on account of her health, and devoted herself to literature. Besides writing tales and sketches for newspapers and magazines, she translated from the French “The Marble-Worker's Manual” (New York, 1856) and “The Clock and Watch Maker's Manual.” She translated Mery's “André Chenier” and About's “King of the Mountains” for “Emerson's Magazine,” which also published original articles from her pen. She next translated Victor Cousin's “Secret History of the French Court: or, Life and Times of Madame de Chevreuse” (1859). The same year appeared the first edition of her “History of the City of New York,” which was the result of great research. After its publication Miss Booth assisted O. W. Wight in making a series of translations of the French classics, and she also translated Edmund About's “Germaine” (Boston, 1860). During the civil war she engaged in the patriotic task of translating the writings of eminent Frenchmen in favor of the cause of the union, and these were published in rapid succession: Gasparin's “Uprising of a Great People” and “America before Europe” (New York, 1861), Edouard Laboulaye's “Paris in America” (New York, 1865), and Augustin Cochin's “Results of Emancipation” and “Results of Slavery” (Boston, 1862). For this work she received praise and encouragement from President Lincoln, Senator Sumner, and other statesmen. During the entire war she maintained a correspondence with Gasparin, Cochin, Henri Martin, Laboulaye, Montalembert, and other European sympathizers with the union. She also translated at that time the Countess de Gasparin's “Vesper,” “Camille,” and “Human Sorrows,” and Count Gasparin's “Happiness.” Documents forwarded to her by French friends of the union were translated and published in pamphlets, issued by the union league club, or printed in the New York journals. Miss Booth's next undertaking was a translation of Henri Martin's “History of France.” The two volumes treating of “The Age of Louis XIV.” were issued in 1864, and two others, the last of the seventeen volumes of the original work, in 1866 under the title of “The Decline of the French Monarchy.” It was intended to follow these with the other volumes from the beginning, but, although two others were translated by Miss Booth, the enterprise was abandoned for lack of success, and no more were printed. Her translation of Martin's abridgment of his “History of France” appeared in 1880. She also translated Laboulaye's “Fairy Book,” and Macé's “Fairy Tales.” An enlarged edition of the “History of the City of New York” was printed in 1867, and a second revised edition, brought down to date, in 1880. Miss Booth was the editor of “Harper's Bazar” since its establishment in 1867.