Good question! Fanny Fern was the most popular, highest paid, most published writer of her era (1850s-1870s). She outsold Harriet Beecher Stowe, won the respect of Nathaniel Hawthorne and served as literary mentor to Walt Whitman. She scrabbled in the depths of poverty before her meteoric rise to fame and fortune. She was widowed, escaped an abusive second marriage, penned one of the country’s first pre-nuptial agreements, married a third man eleven years her junior, and served as a 19th-century “Oprah” to her hundreds of thousands of fans. Fanny Fern’s weekly editorials in the pages of The New York Ledger over a period of about twenty years helped to chronicle the myriad of controversial issues of her era while her autobiographically-based novels were runaway bestsellers.
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