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Author photo. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)

George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)

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Amelia Edith Huddleston was born in Lancashire, England, the daughter of a Methodist minister. The family moved frequently due to her father's work, interrupting Edith's schooling. She spent much time playing with her vast collection of dolls and reading the popular books of the era including Robinson Crusoe and Pilgrim's Progress. She also began writing at a young age. She taught at a boarding school in Downham Market, Norfolk for a while before completing her education in Glasgow. In 1850, she married Robert Barr, a Scottish wool merchant, with whom she moved to the USA and settled in Texas. The deaths of her husband and three young sons in a yellow fever epidemic caused Amelia to take her three surviving daughters away to New York City. There she supported them by teaching. With the encouragement of Henry Ward Beecher, she began writing articles for magazines and newspapers as well as short stories, essays, and poetry. Her first published novel was Romance and Reality (1872) which would be followed by more than 60 other works, mostly historical fiction. Mrs. Barr also wrote her autobiography, All the Days of My life (1913). She created a few pseudonyms to increase her earnings, and her success allowed her to buy a country house, Cherry Croft, at Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York.
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