Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson (1810 – 1865) was a Victorian era British novelist and short story writer.
Her most famous novel is probably Cranford, but during her lifetime she became quite popular for her gothic ghost stories, like The Old Nurse's Story, which Charles Dickens published in his serial magazine Household Words.
An interesting fact about Gaskell: The father of the famous Bronte sisters, Patrick Bronte, a priest and author, asked Ms. Gaskell to write Charlotte's biography, which was published in 1857, The Life of Charlotte Bronte. The work helped establish Gaskell's literary career. It also may have inspired Louisa May Alcott, who read it during a time of despair, and may have found comfort in its parallels to her own life.