Mary Ellen Bamford

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Mary Ellen Bamford (December 10, 1857 – May 21, 1946) was an American author from Healdsburg, California.


Bamford was the daughter of Doctor William Bamford and Cornelia Elizabeth Rand, her parents were pioneer settlers. In the 1850s, her future father had traveled across the plains whilst Cornelia Rand had arrived by California from New Hampshire. She had traveled by sea via Cape Horn. Mary was educated in public schools in Oakland, California and then spent four years working as an assistant in the Oakland Free Public Library,[1] however writing remained her career. Bamford was an active prohibitionist and she was also secretary of the regional Woman's Baptist Foreign Missionary Society. She supplied books to a number of publishers including the American Baptist Publication Society.

In contrast to most Americans at the time, Bamford was sympathetic to Chinese and other Asians attempting to enter the United States. Although most scholars today do not accept her claim that the Angel Island Immigration Station was "the Ellis Island of the West," Bamford's study continues to be cited today.[2] Bamford also wrote for Sunday schools of several denominations.[1]

She died in 1946, and is buried in Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery.[3]


Her books included:

  • Up and Down the Brooks. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. (1889)
  • Her Twenty Heathen. Pilgrim Press.
  • My Land and Water Friends. D. Lothrop & Co. (1886)
  • The Look About Club. D. Lothrop & Co. (1887)
  • Second Year of the Look About Club. D. Lothrop & Co.
  • Janet and Her Father. Congregational S.S. & Pub. Soc. (1891)
  • Marie's story. A tale of the days of Louis XIV.. Congregational S.S. & Pub. Soc. (1888)
  • Miss Millie's Trying. Hunt & Eaton. (1892)
  • Number One or Number Two. Hunt & Eaton. (1891)
  • A Piece of Kitty Hunter's Life. Hunt & Eaton. (1890)
  • Father Lambert's family : a story of old-time France. Phillips & Hunt. (1888)
  • Thoughts of My Dumb Neighbors. Phillips & Hunt. (1887)
  • Eleanor and I. Congregational S.S. & Pub. Soc. (1891)
  • Talks by Queer Folks. D. Lothrop Co.
  • Jessie's Three Resolutions. Am. Bap. Pub. Soc. (1894)
  • In Editha's Days. Am. Baptist Pub. Soc. (1894)
  • Three Roman Girls. Am. Baptist Pub. Soc. (1893)
  • Out of the Triangle: a Story of the Far East. David C. Cook Publishing Co. (1898)
  • Ti: A Story of San Francisco's Chinatown. David C. Cook Co. (1899)
  • Angel Island: the Ellis Island of the West. Woman's American Home Baptist Mission Society (1917)
  • The Denby Children at the Fair. David C. Cook Co.


  1. ^ a b Leonard, John William, ed. (1914), Woman's Who's Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915, New York: American Commonwealth Company, p. 72. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bamford, Findagrave, retrieved 28 September 2014

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