Elizabeth Drew Stoddard, née Barstow, was born and raised in Mattapoisett, a fishing village on the northwest shore of Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts. This New England landscape would provide the setting and characters for many of her future works. She attended Wheaton Female Seminary for two terms. In 1852, she married Richard Henry Stoddard, an aspiring poet, with whom she had three children, and settled in New York City. Although they were perennially on the edge of poverty, the couple sometimes opened their home to a literary and artistic salon. During the 1850s, Mrs. Stoddard began publishing poetry, short fiction, and a column on the New York cultural scene for the Daily Alta California, San Francisco’s oldest daily newspaper. She published all three of her novels in the 1860s, the most popular of which was The Morgesons (1862). In addition, she was the author of more than 80 other prose works, including essays, tales for children, and travel writing, many of which were originally published in national magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and The Atlantic Monthly.