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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WOOLSON, CONSTANCE FENIMORE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WOOLSON, CONSTANCE FENIMORE (5 March 1840-24 January 1894), author, was born in Claremont, New Hampshire, to Charles Jarvis and Hannah Pomeroy Woolson. The family moved to Cleveland later that year after scarlet fever killed three of her sibling in three weeks. While living in Cleveland, Constance came to know the Lake County region and Tuscarawas Valley, which would later appear in her books. She graduated from Madame Chegary's School in New York City in 1858. "Two Women," was Woolson's first published poem (1862). It was her father's death in 1869 that prompted Woolson to discover her roots from her father, who was interested in literature, and her great-uncle, James Fenimore Cooper. In 1871, the family moved South, to the Carolinas and Florida. Eight years later, Woolson and her sister went to England. Woolson eventually settled in Venice where she met Henry James and William Dean Howells. Woolson began publishing descriptive articles in magazines (Harpers, Atlantic Monthly, Galaxy) a year after her father's death. She wrote a children's book, The Old Stone House, under the name Anne March in 1873; published her first book of short stories, Castle Nowhere: Lake County Sketches, in 1875; and a second collection, Rodman the Keeper: Southern Sketches, in 1880. Woolson's first novel, Anne (1883), was a great success and might well be considered a feminist statement. Woolson wrote four more novels, For the Major, East Angel, Jupiter Lights, and Horace Chase (1894). Woolson never married and died in Venice, Italy. She was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, Italy.

Kern, John. Constance Fenimore Woolson, Literary Pioneer (1934).

Moore, Rayburn S. Constance Fenimore Woolson (1963).

Torsney, Cheryl B. Constance Fenimore Woolson: The Grief of Artistry (1989).

Torsney, Cheryl B., ed. Critical Essays on Constance Fenimore Woolson (1992).

Last Modified: 19 Nov 2010 04:13:57 PM

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