Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte (aka "E.D.E.N.") Southworth (December 26, 1819 – June 30, 1899) was an American writer of more than 60 novels in the latter part of the 19th century. She was probably the most widely read author of that era.
E.D.E.N. Southworth moved out to Wisconsin after graduating from Washington, D.C.. She studied in a school kept by her stepfather, Joshua L. Henshaw, and in 1840 married inventor Frederick H. Southworth, of Utica, New York. After 1843 she returned to Washington, D.C. without her husband.
She began to write stories to support herself and her children when her husband deserted her in 1844. Her first story, "The Irish Refugee", was published in the Baltimore Saturday Visitor. Some of her earliest works appeared in The National Era, the newspaper that printed Uncle Tom's Cabin. The bulk of her work appeared as a serial in Robert Bonner's The New York Ledger, which was widely read in the 1850s and 1860s.
Like her friend Harriet Beecher Stowe, she was a supporter of social change and women's rights, but she was not nearly as active on these issues. Her first novel, Retribution, a serial for the National Era, published in book form in 1846, was so well received that she gave up teaching and became a regular contributor to various periodicals, especially the New York Ledger. She lived in Georgetown, D.C., until 1876, then in Yonkers, New York, and again in Georgetown, D.C., where she died.
Her best known work was The Hidden Hand. It first appeared in serial form in the New York Ledger in 1859, and was serialized twice more (1868-69, 1883) before first appearing in book form in 1888. Most of her novels deal with the Southern United States during the post-American Civil War era. She wrote over sixty; some of them were translated into German, French, Chinese and Spanish; in 1872 an edition of thirty-five volumes was published in Philadelphia.
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