Elizabeth Akers Allen
Elizabeth Akers Allen
|Born||Elizabeth Anne Chase|
October 9, 1832
Strong, Maine, U.S.
|Died||August 7, 1911 (aged 78)|
Tuckahoe, New York
Marshall S. M. Taylor (m. 1851)
Benjamin Paul Akers (m. 1860)
Elijah M. Allen (m. 1865)
Elizabeth Akers Allen (pen name, Florence Percy; October 9, 1832 – August 7, 1911), was an American poet and journalist.
Her early poems appeared over the signature of "Florence Percy", and many of them were first published in the Portland Transcript. She came to Portland, Maine in 1855, and a volume of her fugitive poems appeared in that city just before her marriage to Paul Akers, the sculptor, whom she accompanied to Italy, and buried there. For several years, she was on the editorial staff of the Portland Advertiser. She wrote for most of the leading magazines, and several editions of her collected poems were published. She later resided in Ridgewood, New Jersey for several years.
In 1855, using her pen name, she published her first book of poetry, Forest Buds from the Woods of Maine. She started contributing poems to the Atlantic Monthly in 1858. In 1866, she published her second collection, Poems, under the name of "Elizabeth Akers". All subsequent volumes were published under the name "Elizabeth Akers Allen".
For much of her career, Allen earned her living partly as a journalist. The success of her first book allowed her to travel in Europe in 1859–60. While in Europe she served as a correspondent for the Portland Transcript and the Boston Evening Gazette. In 1874, she moved to Portland, Maine, where she spent seven years as the literary editor of the Daily Advertiser. She was a member of the professional women's club Sorosis, which had many writer members.
Allen is best known for the first couplet of her sentimental poem "Rock Me to Sleep, Mother" (1859), which was written during her European sojourn and first published in the Saturday Evening Post of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though it is not considered her finest work, it was very popular during the American Civil War and quoted in the (unpublished) manuscript Mark Twain's No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger. For some years, Allen was forced to dispute its authorship with a number of claimants after the poem was set to music by Ernest Leslie and became a hit song. The first couplet runs:
Backward, turn backward, O time, in thy flight;
Make me a child again, just for to-night.
- Forest Buds from the Woods of Maine (1855, as Florence Percy)
- Poems (1866, as Elizabeth Akers)
- Queen Catharine's Rose (1885)
- The Silver Bridge, and Other Poems (1885)
- Two Saints (1888)
- The High-Top Sweeting, and Other Poems (1891)
- The Proud Lady of Stavoven (1897)
- The Ballad of the Bronx (1901)
- The Sunset Song, and Other Verses (1902)
- "Elizabeth Akers Allen" in The Magazine of Poetry, Volume 6, p. 161. Accessed November 17, 2017. "After making their home in Ridgewood, N. J., for several years, she has recently removed to New York, and is engaged in literary work."
- Griffith 1888, p. 74.
- "Elizabeth Anne Chase Akers Allen". Encyclopædia Britannica, Nov. 24, 1999.
- Willard & Livermore 1893, p. 18.
- Leonard & Marquis 1908, p. 17.
- Stoddard, Elizabeth. The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Stoddard, pp. xlix–l.
- Mark Twain: The Gilded Age and Other Novels. The Library of America. 2002. p. 1053. ISBN 1-931082-10-3.
- "Chest of Books". American Cyclopaedia VI.
- Browning, D. C; Cousin, John W (1969). Everyman's dictionary of literary biography. J.M. Dent & Sons.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Griffith, George Bancroft (1888). The Poets of Maine: A Collection of Specimen Poems from Over Four Hundred Verse-makers of the Pine-tree State (Public domain ed.). Portland, Maine: Elwell, Pickard & Co.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Leonard, John William; Marquis, Albert Nelson (1908). Who's who in America. Marquis Who's Who.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Willard, Frances Elizabeth; Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice (1893). A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in All Walks of Life (Public domain ed.). Moulton.
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Elizabeth Akers Allen