The Female Prose Writers of America: With Portraits, Biographical Notices, and Specimens of their Writings/Elizabeth F. Ellet

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Elizabeth Fries Lummis was born at Sodus Point, New York, October, 1818. She was married at an early age to William F. Ellet, M. D., Professor of Chemistry in Columbia College, in the city of New York. Dr. Ellet having accepted, soon after, the appointment of Professor in South Carolina College, Mrs. Ellet resided several years in Charleston. She has since that lived in New York city.

Her father was Dr. William Nixon Lummis. He was of a highly respectable family, his father and brothers being physicians. He studied medicine in Philadelphia, attending the lectures of Dr. Benjamin Rush, whose friend he was, and whom in person he strongly resembled.

Her mother was Sarah Maxwell, daughter of John Maxwell, and niece of General William Maxwell, who served with distinction until near the close of the revolutionary war, when he threw up his commission on account of some dissatisfaction.

Mrs. Ellet commenced authorship as early as 1833, since which time she has contributed largely, both in prose and verse, to nearly all the leading periodicals, besides the publication of several volumes, which have met with good success.

A volume of poems appeared in 1835. In 1841 she published “Characters of Schiller,” containing an essay on the genius of Schiller, and a critical analysis of his characters. “Joanna of Sicily” soon followed. It was a work partly fictitious, partly historical, intended to exhibit the character and life of the queen whose name it bears. “Rambles about the Country” was a volume intended for children. It describes various scenes in the United States. “Evenings at Woodlawn” is a collection of European legends and traditions, translated and modified to suit American readers. It has had a large sale.

Mrs. Ellet is understood to have written for the North American Review, the American Quarterly, and the Southern Review, but I am unable to designate particularly her articles.

Her largest work is “The Women of the Revolution,” in three volumes. It has gone through seven or eight editions in two years. In this work she has collected with great zeal, and most abundant success, all the evidences of special patriotism and nobleness exhibited by her own sex during the period that “tried men’s souls.” The facts which she has thus rescued from their traditionary state, and placed on permanent record, make a truly valuable addition to our revolutionary story. They are her own noblest and most enduring monument.

Besides these very interesting volumes, Mrs. Ellet has published still another, called the “Domestic History of the Revolution,” of a character similar to the former in its general tone and point of view, but having a regular and connected narrative, suitable for a text book.