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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pen Name

Women writers in the early centuries of publishing (15th to the early part of the 20th century) most times had to conceal their sex to get their works published. And so they would create a masculine name for themselves or be annonomyous or if they were daring- "A Lady".and mail their work in and it would be judged on their talent not their sex.
Remember, women were not considered fully human in the United States until 1889! And this issue was pressed because women would be in a bad marriage and to leave would mean leaving EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Their children. Money, land, possessions that was from their family. Their husband would become owner of all when they married and even if the marriage failed the husband took everything. Tragic. So when you think about how marriages seemed work better in the "olden days"...
Another reason women would hide the fact they were writers...it was frowned upon by society, she might be labeled a "blue nose" and then never get a husband! Oh, dear. Many thought education the female sex would ruin them and a waste of time and money.

Born this day in 1850, Mary Noailles Murfree was born. Considered one of the "first significant" fiction writers about Appalachia. Her characters were based on the post Civil War folks and captured the "local colour". Ms. Murfree wrote novels and short stories for the Atlantic Monthly. Her pen name? Mr. Charles Egbert Craddock. Ms. Murfree revealed her sex to her editor at the Atlantic Monthly five into the working relationship. My, my. Mary Murfree died July 31, 1920.

You can read her short stories and novels at e-book@ProjectGutenburg.