Woman of the Century/Belle C. Greene

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GREENE, Mrs. Belle C., author, born in Pittsfield, Vt., 17th March, 1844. Her maiden name was Colton. and her descent is a mixture of American, English and Indian. One of her ancestors on her father's side married an Indian princess belonging to a Massachusetts tribe, and settled in that State. Her mother, Lucy Baker, came from Puritan stock. She died at the age of forty-seven, leaving her husband and a family of six girls. Isabel, who was next to the youngest, was but four years old at the time. She was taken into the family of a distant relative living in a New Hampshire country town, where she was reared and educated in strictest orthodox ways. BELLE C. GREENE.jpgBELLE C. GREENE. In 1868 she became the wife of M. B. V. Greene, of Nashua, N. H., where she has since made her home. It was not till the year 1881 that Mrs. Greene began her literary work in earnest. She sent a short story and a humorous sketch to her friend, Mrs. Phelps-Ward, then Miss Phelps, asking for advice and encouragement. Miss Phelps replied with characteristic honesty and kindness that Mrs. Greene's voice was doubtless her one great gift, and, as mortals were seldom blest with two, she advised her to stick to music, but added, since she must give an opinion, that she considered the humorous sketch better than the story. Upon this scanty encouragement Mrs. Greene offered the humorous sketch to "Godey's Lady's Book," and it was accepted. She continued to furnish sketches for a year or more, and concluded her work for the magazine by writing her first story proper, a novelette, afterward published in book form under the title "A New England Idyl." "Adventures of an Old Maid," a second book, was a collection of humorous sketches published first in the magazines, and has had a sale of over seventy-five-thousand copies. Her religious novel, "A New England Conscience," attracted wide comment. Though severely denounced by some of the critics, it was regarded by others as a masterpiece of condensed thought and realistic character drawing. In 1887-88 Mrs. Greene made an extended tour of southern California and the Pacific Coast, and during her stay of several months in Los Angeles and San Diego she contributed to the newspapers a series of humorous sketches founded upon the phases of the boom, which added greatly to her reputation as a humorous writer. These last-mentioned articles constitute her only newspaper work, with the exception of the "Mill Papers," regarding the operatives in the cotton-mills, written for the Boston " Transcript " in 1883 and 1884. Mrs. Greene's success thus far has been largely as a short-story writer. Her family consists of her husband and one son.