Julia C. Collins

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Julia C. Collins
Born c. 1842
Died November 25, 1865
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Genres Fiction, Essay
Notable work(s) Curse of Caste, or the Slave Bride
Spouse(s) Stephen C. Collins (a/k/a Simon C. Collins)
Children Annie C. Collins (Mrs. John L. Caution)

Julia C. Collins (c. 1842 - November 25, 1865), was an African-American schoolteacher in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, who in 1864 and 1865 contributed essays and other writings to the Christian Recorder, a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Starting in January 1865, her novel, The Curse of Caste, or the Slave Bride, was serialized in the pages of the Christian Recorder. The novel remains unfinished due to the untimely death of its author from consumption. In 2006, William L. Andrews of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Mitch Kachun of Western Michigan University collected Collins' writings and her unfinished novel and published them, with commentary and notes through Oxford University Press.[1]

Life and work[edit]


Little is known about Julia Collins' life. What is known for certain comes directly from references to her in the Christian Recorder. From these references, we know that she was married to Stephen C. Collins and, when she died, "left motherless children."[2] When and where Julia was born and the identity of her parents are unknown. Scholars’ best guess is that she was born a free woman in the North. Since she left young children, she might have been in her twenties when she died, in which case she was born around 1842.


In addition to the novel, The Curse of Caste, or the Slave Bride, Collins published six essays in the Christian Recorder over the course of ten months from April 19, 1864 to January 20, 1865. The essays are titled, “Mental Improvement,” “School Teaching,” “Intelligent Women,” “A letter from Oswego: Originality of Ideas,” “Life is Earnest, and “Memory and Imagination.” The first four essays are datelined Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the fourth and fifth are datelined Oswego, New York, and the last Owego, New York.


  1. ^ William L. Andrews and Mitch Kachun, editors. The Curse of Caste; or the Slave Bride: A Rediscovered African American Novel, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006) ISBN 978-0-19-530159-5
  2. ^ "A Letter from Hollidaysburg Circuit," Christian Recorder, Dec. 23, 1865.