Frances Hodgson Burnett
Dialect Story Writer
1849 – 1924 A.D.
Miss Hodgson was born in England. In 1865 her father died and the family removed to America, settling in Newmarket, Tennessee. The mother with two sons and three daughters sought to earn a living on the little farm. There were many dark days but all worked bravely.
Frances felt that she had abilities in other lines and that she could earn money with the pen as well, or better, than with farm tools.
She began with short stories which were published in Peterson’s Magazine and Godey’s Lady’s Book. But she did not win marked success or recognition until 1872, when she contributed to Scribner’s Magazine a dialect story, Surely Tim’s Trouble. Her girlhood days in Manchester had made her familiar with the Lancashire dialect and she now turned it to account in the above story. Her writings were now accepted and sought by publishers.
In 1875 she became the wife of Dr. Swan M. Burnett. They traveled extensively in Europe and then took up their residence in Washington.
That Lass O’Lowrie’s was published in Scribner’s and afterwards had a large sale in book form. Through One Administration, Loisianna, A Fair Barbarian, and Editha’s Burglar are among her works. She is probably most widely and popularly known through her Little Lord Fauntleroy. This, like many of her stories, has been dramatized, thereby adding to her fame.
The dramatization of novels without any compensation to the author had long be a sore trial to English writers. Read and Dickens, among others, had attempted to stop it but in vain. Mrs. Burnett undertook to defend herself against the unauthorized use of Little Lord Fauntleroy, and the court, for the first time, gave to authors the control of the dramatic right in their stories.
When the triumph was won the authors of England showed their gratitude by presenting to Mrs. Burnett a costly diamond bracelet.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.