Frances Little

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Frances Little (November 22, 1863 – January 6, 1941) was the pseudonym of American author Fannie Caldwell. Caldwell and her husband, businessman James D. Macaulay, made their home on Fourth Street in Louisville, Kentucky. Her debut book The Lady of the Decoration was published in New York City in 1906 and would be her most successful work. The "Lady" rode the wave of American interest and support for Japan in the Russo-Japanese War, and supports the Japanese cause throughout. Set between 1901 and 1905, it is written in the form of letters home to a female friend or sister; it's not made clear. The main character is a young missionary kindergarten teacher in Hiroshima, Japan who before and during the Russo-Japanese War. She travels to Vladivostock, Russia just before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War and makes a number of critical observations. At the dawn of the 20th Century, most Americans knew very little of Japan, and Little's novel presented a view of Japanese life that captured the imagination of the reading public, who made it the No.1 bestselling novels in the United States for 1907.

In December 2005, the Project Gutenberg published "Mr. Bamboo and the Honorable Little God, A Christmas Story" under her own married name of Fannie C. Macaulay.

According to the dedication in Little Sister Snow, Little was the aunt of the author Alice Hegan Rice


Fannie Caldwell was born in Shelbyville, Kentucky to Judge James Lafayette and Mary Lettia (Middleton) Caldwell on November 22, 1863. [1] [2] [3] Fannie received an education from Science Hill Academy.[3] Fannie and her husband lived on South Fourth Street in Louisville, Kentucky.[4] Before becoming a writer she was a kindergarten teacher in Louisville from 1899 to 1902 but after her divorce she traveled abroad and became the "supervisor of normal classes, kindergartens, at Hiroshima, Japan, from 1902 to 1907". [1][3][5] During her time in Japan she wrote letters to her niece, Alice Hegan Rice. Alice decided to turn the letters into a book, after removing any personal details and creating the pseudonymous name of Frances Little by reversing Fannie's "family name 'Little Fan'".[3] The title was inspired by the children that Fannie taught who called her their "Lady of the Decoration" every time that she "pinned on her little enameled watch".[3] Fannie eventually returned to Kentucky and lectured on Japan and continued to write books after the success of The Lady of the Decoration.[3] On January 6, 1941 Fannie passed away due to influenza at the Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. She was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. [2][3]


  • The Lady of the Decoration (1906)
  • Little Sister Snow (1909)
  • The Lady and Sada San (1912)
  • Camp Jolly (1917)
  • House of the Misty Star (1915)
  • Jack and I in Lotus Land (1922)
  • Early American textiles (1931)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Answers To Questions". The Courier-Journal. 28 Dec 1915.
  2. ^ a b Kentucky. Vital Statistics Original Death Certificates – Microfilm (1911-1964). Microfilm rolls #7016130-7041803. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky. Film 7020624:All Counties
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Harrison, Lowell H.; Dawson, Nelson L. (2015-01-13). A Kentucky sampler : essays from the Filson Club history quarterly, 1926-1976. Harrison, Lowell H. (Lowell Hayes), 1922-2011,, Dawson, Nelson L., 1939-. Lexington. pp. 403–404. ISBN 9780813163086. OCLC 900344966.
  4. ^ Dominé, David. (2013). Old Louisville : exuberant, elegant, and alive. Schmidt, Franklin., Schmidt, Esther (Photographer). Savannah, GA: Golden Coast Pub. p. 134. ISBN 978-0932958297. OCLC 827777580.
  5. ^ Russell, Lindsay, ed. (1915). America to Japan ; a symposium of papers by representative citizens of the United States on the relations between Japan and America and on the common interests of the two countries. New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 124.