Woman of the Century/Helen S. Campbell

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CAMPBELL, Mrs. Helen S., author and editor, born in Lockport, N. Y.. 4th July, 1839. She is of Scotch ancestors on both sides of the house. Twelve months after her birth her father, Homer H. Stuart, removed to New York City, where he lived until his death, in 1890, and where as a lawyer and a citizen he filled with honor Helen S Campbell from American Women, 1897.jpgHELEN S. CAMPBELL. various responsible positions. Married at the age of twenty to an army surgeon, she thereafter lived in various portions of the United States, during which time she gained that broad experience which has reappeared in her literary work. Endowed with abundant vitality, great imagination, power of dramatic expression and a profoundly sympathetic nature, it was impossible for the young woman to live an idle life. At the age of twenty-three, under her married name, Helen C. Weeks, she began work for children, writing steadily for "Our Young Folks," the "Riverside Magazine" and other juvenile periodicals. Likeall her subsequent work, these articles were vital, magnetic and infused with both humor and pathos. Soon her stories grew in length, and the "Ainslee Series" was issued in book form. This comprised "Ainslee," "Grandpa's House," "Four and What They Did" and " White and Red." They were exceedingly popular and still find a sale. All of them were reprinted in England. Her next works were "Six Sinners," "His Grandmothers" and "The American Girl's Hand-book of Work and Play." About 1882 she became literary and household editor of "Our Continent," and wrote for its pages the popular novel entitled " Under Green Apple Boughs," followed by the "What-to-do-Club." These latter books were preceded by several others, entitled "Unto the Third and Fourth Generation," "The Easiest Way in Housekeeping and Cooking " and the "Problem of the Poor." With the last mentioned book, which gave an impetus to much work along the same lines by other writers, began Mrs. Campbell's special interest in the poor. This appeared in 1880 and drew great attention toward plans for alleviating the miseries of the ignorant and impoverished in New York City. Some of the conclusions reached by Mrs. Campbell appeared in her novel, "Mrs. Herndon's Income." which was printed first as a serial in the "Christian Union," and was afterward issued in book-form. This powerful book at once lifted Mrs. Campbell to an exalted place as a novelist, while her thrilling story won the attention of philanthropists and reformers the world over. Attracted by this volume, in 1886, the New York "Tribune" appointed her its commissioner to investigate the condition of women wage-earners in New York, and that work resulted in a series of papers under the title of "Prisoners of Poverty," which caused a profound and wide-spread sensation respecting the life of wage-women in the metropolis. It may be regarded as the seed from which has issued a vast amount of literature upon the topic, resulting in great amelioration in the condition of a large, and at that time nearly helpless, body of workers. Soon afterwards Mrs. Campbell went abroad to investigate the lives of wage-earners in London, Paris, Italy and Germany. There she remained eighteen months or more, the fruits of her work appearing, upon her return to this country, in "Prisoners of Poverty Abroad." Following that came "Miss Melinda's Opportunity" and "Roger Berkley's Probation," two short novels, and, later, "Anne Bradstreet and Her Time." a historical study of early colonial life, "A Sylvan City," having already done the same thing for Philadelphia. The latest published work of Mrs. Campbell, " Darkness and Daylight in New York," is a series of graphic portraitures of the salient features of the city. In 1890 Mrs. Campbell received a prize from the American Economical Association fur a monograph upon "Women Wage-Earners." She has contributed many articles on economic subjects to reviews and magazines. Her home is in New York City.