History's Women: Miscellaneous Articles: Margaret Fuller Ossoli, American AuthoressMargaret Fuller Ossoli
American Authoress
1810 – 1850 A.D.

Her father, Timothy Fuller, gave much personal attention to her education. She proved a remarkable scholar, for at six years of age she could read Latin and at eight read extensively in Shakespeare, Cervantes, Mololièr. Being much by herself she became melancholy and reserved was given to freaks of passion.

She studied at Groton, Mass., where her eccentricities were a trial to her teachers and friends. Upon her return home she began an extensive course of studies, mastering the German and the chief authors in that language.

In 1840 she became the editor of the Dial, a quarterly journal. Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of her associates in the work. Woman in the Nineteenth Century, written by Miss Fuller for this journal, was afterward issued in book form.

In 1944 she became connected with the New York Tribune. Her time was chiefly given to reviews which were subsequently issued as a volume entitled Papers on Art and Literature.

In 1847, having taken up her residence in Rome, she became the wife of a Roman nobleman, the Marquis Giovanni Angelo Ossoli. During the two following years she saw stirring times in the “eternal city.” In 1848 occurred the revolution and in 1849 the city was besieged by the French. She rendered good service as directress [sic] of one of the hospitals.

In 1850 she set her face toward her native land, accompanied by here husband and little son. The voyage had a tragic ending. The barque was driven ashore on Fire Island beach. While the vessel was going to pieces, Margaret sang little Angelo to sleep and her husband calmed the passengers by prayer. After twelve hours of suspense, some of the passengers were saved, but Ossoli, wife, and child perished.

Hers was a strong character, a marked individuality. Her struggle and solitary habits made her less winsome than some other writers, but her works form a substantial contribution to American Literature.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.

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