Laura Jean Libbey
Laura Jean Libbey (March 22, 1862 – October 25, 1924), was an American writer.
Some of Libbey's stories first appeared as serialized stories in papers such as The New York Family Story Paper, The Fireside Companion, and the New York Ledger. During the 1880s her stories were popular enough for Libbey to negotiate high paying exclusive contracts with specific papers. These serialized stories were later reprinted in dime novel format by publishers of cheap fiction such as George Munro, Arthur Westbrook, and John Lovell.
Over fifteen million copies of her books were published. According to The American Bookseller, Libbey's 1889 The Pretty Young Girl was "the hit of the season" in selling 60,000 copies in thirty days. At one point, Libbey reported she was earning $60,000 a year, but this number may have been exaggerated.
Three of Libbey's stories were made into films: When Love Grows Cold (1926), A Poor Girl's Romance (1927), and In a Moment of Temptation (1928). Libbey also wrote 120 plays, many based on her previously published stories.
Known as the "working-girl" novelist, Libbey's stories were romances about employed young women without family support. Her earliest stories (published in the 1880s) were moralistic and focused on the difficulties of factory work.  The stories published in the 1890s and 1900s focused more on the process of finding an appropriate romantic partner.
According to Joyce Shaw Peterson, Libbey's heroines show signs of being proto-feminists. They work for a living, they are spirited, they are proud, they have integrity. When abducted they often manage to run away on their own. However, their permanent safety always depends upon male protection. There is no female solidarity in Libbey's stories, other women are jealous rivals for the attentions of men. Employment is an opportunity to find a wonderful husband, not a chance to find freedom and self-definition. Overall, Libbey's stories were outside the feminist stream of the time which focused on economic independence.
Supposedly Libbey's mother forbade her from marrying. Two years after Libbey's mother passed away in 1896 she married a Brooklyn lawyer by the name of Van Mater Stilwell. Libbey was 36 years old when she married.
- "Laura Jean Libbey - American Women's Dime Novel Project". American Women's Dime Novel Project. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
- Leonard, John William; Mohr, William Frederick; Knox, Herman Warren; Holmes, Frank R.; Downs, Winfield Scott (1904). Who's who in New York City and State. Who's who publications, Incorporated.
- Sullivan, Larry E.; Schurman, Lydia C. (2013-02-01). Pioneers, Passionate Ladies, and Private Eyes: Dime Novels, Series Books, and Paperbacks. Routledge. ISBN 9781135068097.
- The American Bookseller: A Semi-monthly Journal Pub. in the Interests of Publishers, Booksellers and Newsdealers. American News Company. 1889.
- "When Love Grows Cold (1925) - Screenplay Info - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
- Weight, F. Harmon (1926-05-23), A Poor Girl's Romance, Creighton Hale, Gertrude Short, Rosa Rudami, retrieved 2018-05-08
- In a Moment of Temptation (1927), retrieved 2018-05-08
- "Laura Jean Libbey (1862–1925) - Find A Grave..." www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
- Davis, Cynthia J.; West, Kathryn (1996-05-09). Women Writers in the United States: A Timeline of Literary, Cultural, and Social History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195358124.
- Peterson, Joyce Shaw (1983-03-01). "Working girls and millionaires: the melodramatic romances of laura jean libbey". American Studies. 24 (1): 19–35. ISSN 0026-3079.
- "Women's History Sources: A Guide to Manuscripts: L - M | Rutgers University Libraries". www.libraries.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
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- Works by Laura Jean Libbey at Project Gutenberg
- Mischievous Maid Faynie by Laura Jean Libbey at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Laura Jean Libbey at Internet Archive
- American Women's Dime Novel Project biography
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