Marie-Anne-Françoise Mouchard de Chaban began writing poetry as a child and published under the pen name Fanny de Beauharnais. She was the daughter of a French royal official, the Receiver-General of Finances in Champagne. She was married at age 15 to comte Claude de Beauharnais, 20 years her senior, and became the aunt by marriage of the future empress Josephine. She later served as the godmother of Josephine's daughter Hortense de Beauharnais (future queen of Holland). Fanny de Beauharnais was renowned for her beauty, her social graces, and her love of literature. Her first work, a two-volume collection of poems and prose, was published in 1772. During the French Revolution, she was briefly imprisoned and then fled the country. On her return, she lived in the rue de Tournon in Paris and devoted herself to her writing and her famous literary salon, which attracted many other writers and playwrights -- as well as Thomas Jefferson, then serving as U.S. Ambassador to France. She was an advocate of women writers and an early feminist. Fanny's granddaughter Stéphanie de Beauharnais became Grand Duchess of Baden, and through her, Fanny was an ancestor of the royal families of Belgium, Luxembourg, and Monaco.