Maria Susanna Cummins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Maria Susanna Cummins
Maria Susanna Cummins.jpg
Born (1827-04-09)April 9, 1827
Salem, Massachusetts
Died October 1, 1866(1866-10-01) (aged 39)
Dorchester, Massachusetts
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Genre Romance, Girls' books
Notable works The Lamplighter (1854)

Maria Susanna Cummins (April 9, 1827 – October 1, 1866) was an American novelist. She was the author of the widely popular novel The Lamplighter.


Maria Susanna Cummins was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on April 9, 1827. She was the daughter of Honorable David Cummins and Maria F. Kittredge, and was the eldest of four children from that marriage. The Cummins family resided in the neighborhood of Dorchester in Boston, Massachusetts. Cummins' father encouraged her to become a writer at an early age. She studied at Mrs. Charles Sedgwick's Young Ladies School in Lenox, Massachusetts.[1]

In 1854, she published the novel The Lamplighter, a sentimental book which was widely popular and which made its author well-known. One reviewer called it "one of the most original and natural narratives".[2] Within eight weeks, it sold 40,000 copies and totaled 70,000 by the end of its first year in print.[3] She wrote other books, including Mabel Vaughan (1857), none of which had the same success. Cummins also published in some of the popular periodicals of her day.

Cummins died in Dorchester after a period of illness on October 1, 1866.[4]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Dictionary of Literary Biography. 1978ff. Detroit. Gale Research Company.
  • Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. 1971. Ed. Edward T. James, Janet Wilson James & Paul S. Boyer. 3 Bde. Cambridge, MA. The Belknap Press of Harvard UP.


  1. ^ Cummins, Maria Susanna - Introduction
  2. ^ Riegel, Robert Edgar. American Women: A Story of Social Change. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970: 166. ISBN 0-8386-7615-4
  3. ^ Bell, Michael Davitt. "Women's Fiction and the Literary Marketplace in the 1850s", Culture, Genre, and Literary Vocation: Selected Essays on American Literature. University of Chicago Press, 2001: 141. ISBN 978-0-226-04179-7
  4. ^ (3 October 1866). Death of Miss Maria Cummins, The Author, The New York Times (reporting based on Boston Transcript story)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource 

External links[edit]