Anne Hampton Brewster

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Anne Hampton Brewster (October 29, 1818 – 1892) was one of America's first female foreign correspondents, publishing primarily in Philadelphia, New York and Boston newspapers. She also published novels, poems and numerous short stories.

She was a "social outlaw" (as a friend described her) by refusing to marry, by converting to Catholicism, by moving out of the house of older brother, Benjamin H. Brewster (who later served as United States Attorney General in the 1880s), in order to live alone, by moving to Rome, and, foremost, by continuing to write through it all, first as a dilettante and then as a self-supporting professional.[1]

Brewster died in Italy in 1892, and left her writings and books to the Library Company of Philadelphia.[1][2]

She also used the pen name of Enna Duval (Enna being Anne in reverse) for work published between 1845 and 1860.[3][4]

Early and family life[edit]

Brewster was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 29, 1818, to Maria Hampton and Francis Enoch Brewster, the second child of three .[5] She was known to be a feminist and social outlaw because she was an independent woman who did not want to marry. Instead of getting married and having a family, she preferred to write in order to support herself. She later left to go to Rome, Italy and wrote on many Italian topics such as: Art, architecture, archaeology, political events, and social gossip for many different American newspapers. All throughout her life, Anne continued to write having published a total of three novels, seven pieces of nonfiction, fifty-two short stories, and four poems, along with many newspaper articles.[6] Anne had wishes to leave all of her works to the Library Company of Philadelphia, but she had a special wish that her "Library and everything appertaining to it... Be kept intact and called The Maria Hampton Brewster Library... In Honour of the memory of my beloved Mother." Anne died in 1893 and The Library Company has recognized her wishes and kept all of her works intact through a special accessioning procedure.[7]

Anne was the daughter of Maria and Francis Brewster. They had three children together; Benjamin, Anne, and Carroll. At the age of five, older brother Benjamin was caught in a fire and severely burned in the face and hands. People around Philadelphia knew him as "Burnt Face" Brewster. Although Benjamin faced tragedy early on in his life, he still was a very successful individual. He became the most prominent Attorney General in the Cabinet of President Arthur. Third and youngest child to Maria and Francis Brewster was F. Carroll Brewster. She also became a very prominent lawyer well known for criminal cases. Aside from being an outstanding lawyer, she had many constitutional authority, author of some important treaties on law and equity, a common pleas judge, and Attorney General of the Commonwealth.[5] Carroll was also a very successful individual. Francis, her father, was a deputy sheriff of the county and also an outstanding lawyer.[5] Anne's father was not faithful to her mother. He had a mistress by the name of Isabella Anderson, whom he left Maria for in 1834. Francis and Isabella had two sons together, which are named Frederick and Enoch Brewster. Due to Anne's father leaving and not continuing to support Anne and her mother Maria, they had to depend on the support of Anne's older brother Benjamin. When Anne's mother, Maria, died in 1853, Maria left her entire estate to Anne in agreement with Anne's father that she could give away any pre-maarriage items as she pleased. Anne's father died a year later in 1854 and broke the agreement that was made by leaving his entire estate and Maria's belongings to his sons that he had with Isabella. Benjamin eventually convinced the two sons to share the belongings with him. This left Anne's share in the hands of Benjamin. Anne tried to fight her brother for years in court but in the end she lost and her inheritance was kept by Benjamin.[6]


Anne Hampton Brewster's work consisted of books, diaries, notes/letters, articles, and journals. Many of her articles come from the time she spent in Rome writing for American Newspapers. They were published in American newspapers such as the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, the Bother Advertiser, and the New York World. Her short stories, such as St. Martins Summer and others, were written for magazines such as Blackwood's. Her letter recipients consisted mainly of Thomas Buchanan Read (painter Poet), Amelia B. Edwards (author and archaeologist), Grace Greenwood(Pseudonym), and Benjamin Brewster(her brother). The diaries on file go from 1845 to 1892. Annes published papers include a section with documents signed by Abraham Lincoln, W. T. Sherman, James Madison, and others.[8]

Poetry was also something that Anne was a fan and writer of, although her poems aren't as well known as her other works. The Saturday Gazette was filled with many poems written by Anne but published under many different pen names. The various poems have no manuscript copies that can be found. The only proof of a poem that the Library Company owns is the poem "Up The Nile" by Joaquin Miller that also has another version written by Anne Brewster. The poem illustrates a man fixation on earthly endeavors and shortfall of spirituality.[9]

Partial bibliography[edit]

  • Spirit Sculpture; Or, the Year Before Confirmation (1849) (novel) (as Enna Duval)
  • Compensation; Or, Always a Future (1860) (novel) (2nd edition 1870)
  • Saint Martin's Summer (1866) (novel)


  1. ^ a b Larrabee, Denise M. Anne Hampton Brewster: 19th-century Author and "Social Outlaw" (1992), bibliography at p. 34-36
  2. ^ (6 May 1892). Personal, Boston Evening Transcript
  3. ^ Room, Adrian. Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, p. 157 (5th ed. 2010)
  4. ^ Boasberg, Leonard W. (11 May 1992). Closing The Book On A Mystery, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  5. ^ a b c Fisher, Estelle (1947). A Gentle Journalist Abroad. The Free Library of Phiadelphia. p. 7. 
  6. ^ a b "Anne Hampton Brewster papers, 1777-1892". Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  7. ^ Larrabee, Denise (1992). Anne Hampton Brewster 19th Century Author and "Social Outlaw". The Library Company of Philadelphia. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "Description: Anne Hampton Brewster papers". Retrieved 2016-03-14. 
  9. ^ Larrabee, Denise (1988). By a Lady: American Women Poets of the 18th and 19th Centuries. The Library Company of Philadelphia. 

External links[edit]