Anna Hanson Dorsey
Anna Hanson Dorsey (1815 – 26 December 1896) was an American author of novels and short stories. A convert to Catholicism, she was a pioneer of Catholic literature in the United States.
Born Anna Hanson in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., she was the daughter of the Rev. William McKenney, a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, and Chloe Ann Lanigan McKenney. In 1837 she married Lorenzo Dorsey, a Baltimore judge. Their only son died fighting on the Union side in the American Civil War.
Dorsey converted to Catholicism in 1840 and thereafter devoted herself to Catholic literature, mainly in the form of stories and novels, although she wrote a small amount of poetry as well. Her more than 40 novels frequently centered on a religious conversion narrative aimed at her largely Protestant audiences, and her New York Times obituary referred to her as a pioneer of Catholic literature in the United States. Her plots tended towards melodrama, with elements such as mistaken identities, mysterious disappearances, and false accusations. Her novel Coaina: The Rose of the Algonquins was translated into both German and Hindustani and also made into a stage play. At least two of her novels — The Student of Blenheim Forest (1847) and The Sister of Charity (1850) — were still in print at the end of the century.
She died in Washington, D.C.
- The Student of Blenheim Forest (1847)
- Flowers of Love of Memory (1849)
- Oriental Pearl; or, the Catholic Immigrants (1850)
- Tears of the Diadem or, the Crown and the Cloister (1850)
- The Sister of Charity (1850)
- Woodreve Manor (1853)
- Conscience, or the Trials of May Brooke (1856)
- Coaina: The Rose of the Algonquins (1867)
- Nora Brady's Vow (1869)
- Tangled Paths (1885)
- Adrift (1887)
- The Heiress of Carrigmona (1887)
- The Old House at Glenaran (1887)
- Palms (1887)
- The Fate of the Dane and Other Stories (1888)
- Zoe's Daughter (1888)
- Ada's Trust
- Beth's Promise
- Mona, the Vestal
- The Flemings
- The Old Gray Rosary
- The Student of Blenheim Forest
- Warp and Woof
- Willard, Frances E., and Mary A. Livermore, eds. A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-Seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in All Walks of Life. Moulton, 1893, pp. 253-54.
- Sullivan, Eileen P. The Shamrock and the Cross: Irish American Novelists Shape American Catholicism, n.p.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Anna Hanson Dorsey". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
- Thorp, Willard. "Catholic Novelists in Defense of Their Faith, 1829-1865". Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 78, pt. 1 (1968), pp. 25-117.