Woman of the Century/Elizabeth Akers Allen
ALLEN, Mrs. Elizabeth Akers, poet, born in Strong, Franklin county, Maine, 9th October, 1832 She inherited mental and physical vigor from her father, and delicacy and refinement from her mother, who died when Elizabeth was yet an infant. After her mother's death her father made his home in Farmington, Maine, where the poet's girlhood was passed. A weekly newspaper published in Farmington gave her poems to the public over the pen-name "Florence Percy." Her verses were received with marked favor and were widely copied. Her earliest verses, written when she was only twelve years old, were sent without knowledge to a Vermont paper, which promptly published them. In 1847 she began to publish over her own name. In 1855 she became assistant editor of the Portland, Maine, "Transcript." In 1856 she published her first volume of poetry, "Forest Buds from the Woods of Maine." The volume was a success financially, and she was able to go to Europe, where she spent some time in Italy, France and Germany. In 1860 she was married to her first husband, Paul Akers, the sculptor, a native of Maine. He died in Philadelphia, Pa., in the spring of 1861, at the age of thirty-five years, just as a brilliant career was opening to him. Their only child, Gertrude, died shortly afterwards, and Mrs. Akers, after rallying from a long mental and physical prostration, returned to Portland and took her old situation in the "Transcript" office. In 1863 she received an appointment in the War Office in Washington, D. C., at the suggestion of the late Senator Fessenden. She was in Ford's Theater on the night of President Lincoln's assassination. In 1866 she brought out her second volume of verse, "Poems by Elizabeth Akers," which was successful. In the fall of 1866 she was married to E. M. Allen, and went with him to Richmond, Va. While living in that city there arose the famous discussion of the authorship of her poem, "Rock Me to Sleep, Mother." That now celebrated poem was written by Mrs. Allen, in 1859, and sent from Rome to the Philadelphia "Post," and that journal published it in 1860. In 1872 her husband engaged in business in New York City. After making their home in Ridgewood. N. J., for several years, she has recently removed to New York, and is engaged in literary work. She is a member of Sorosis.