Amelia Edith Barr
1831 – 1919 A.D.
Amelia Edit Barr, an American novelist, born in England. When about eighteen, she married Robert Barr, an author, and a few years later Mr. and Mrs. Barr came to America, landing in New York when Bowling Green and Lafayette Place were among the city’s fashionable quarters. Then they went West, then South, and finally settled in Galveston, Texas.
In 1867 and epidemic of yellow fever occurred, in which her husband and four sons died, while she and her three daughters were spared. Shortly afterward she came to New York and secured a position as teacher in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
One night at a dinner party someone said to her: “Mrs. Barr, if you can write as well as you talk you might make some money.” She determined to do so, and went to the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, who was then editor of the Christian Union, and soon commenced to write for that paper. Her first novel Jan Vedder’s Wife written in 1884 put her at once among the successful novel writers of the day. Soon afterward she established a home, Cherry Croft, Cornwall-on-Hudson, and spent many years there, with occasional summers in Europe.
Her later years were spent at Richmond Hill, where she lived quietly surrounded by friends, still devoting most of her time to writing, and keenly interested in all that went on in the world. Mrs. Barr wrote no less than eighty novels. The last one completed in June, 1918, was entitled The Paper Cap, and was based on labor troubles in her native country, England, of which she had been a witness.
She was best in historical tales with a flavor of religious persecution, and in scenes of Scotland, the north of England, and Dutch New York.
A series of eighty novels, written and published during a period of thirty-four years, a period starting after the author had reached the age of fifty-three, is an amazing record of literacy activity at a comparatively advanced age. Moreover, Mrs. Barr’s novels, although produced in such swift succession, were well worth reading, skilfully constructed as to plot and character, and, in many instances, represented wide historical research.
She was also a prolific writer in other fields; in essay, poem, or tale she labored zealously for the highest ideals in living and thinking, and will long be remembered as a beneficent influence of her host readers.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.