Edward Payson Roe

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Edward Payson Roe (March 7, 1838 – July 19, 1888) was an American novelist.


Edward Payson Roe was born in Moodna, Orange County, New York. He studied at Williams College and at Auburn Theological Seminary. In 1862 He became chaplain of the Second New York Cavalry, U.S.V., and in 1864 chaplain of Hampton Hospital, in Virginia. In 1866-74 he was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Highland Falls, New York. In 1874 he removed to Cornwall-on-Hudson, where he devoted himself to the writing of fiction and to horticulture. During the American Civil War, he wrote weekly letters to the New York Evangelist, and subsequently lectured on the war and wrote for periodicals.


His novels were very popular in their day, especially with middle class readers in England and America, and were translated into several European languages. Their strong moral and religious purpose, and their being written by a clergyman, did much to break down a Puritan prejudice in America against works of fiction. Among his novels were:

  • Barriers Burned Away (1872), which first appeared as a serial in the Evangelist and made him widely known.
  • What Can she Do? (1873).
  • Opening of a Chestnut Burr (1874).
  • From Jest to Earnest (1875).
  • Near to Nature's Heart (1876).
  • A Knight of the Nineteenth Century (1877).
  • A Face Illumined (1878).
  • A Day of Fate (1880).
  • Without a Home (1881).
  • His Sombre Rivals (1883).
  • Nature's Serial Story (1884).
  • A Young Girl's Wooing (1884).
  • An Original Belle (1885).
  • He Fell in Love with his Wife (1886).
  • The Hornet's Nest: A Story of Love and War (1886).
  • The Earth Trembled (1887).
  • Miss Lou (left unfinished 1888).
  • Play and Profit in My Garden (1873).
  • Success with Small Fruits (1881).
  • The Home Acre (1887).

Use in popular culture[edit]

Roe was mentioned in the Sinclair Lewis novel, Elmer Gantry. Elmer is said to have a volume of E.P. Roe novels among other volumes. Lewis also mentions Roe in his novel Work of Art.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Roe, Edward Payson" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 449–450.

Glenn O. Carey, Edward Payson Roe, 1985, Twayne's United States Authors Series.

External links[edit]