Harriet Prescott Spofford


A picture of the author Harriet Prescott Spofford

Harriet Prescott Spofford (1835 - 1921) was a Calais, Maine-born American author of gothic romance, detective stories, and poetry. She offered refreshingly unconventional treatment of female stereotypes in her day (as in Tom's Money: "I'd be a man if I was a man. Get up. I'm not going to hurt you.")

Though relatively unknown, her vivid, artful character descriptions were compared to her contemporary who also set much of his work in the American West, Bret Harte. Spofford began writing as a teenager when her parents became ill, receiving small pay for stories submitted to Boston papers until her first book was published, In a Cellar, an account of Parisian life. The Atlantic editors initially mistook it for a translation rather than original work by an inexperienced author.

The Amber Gods, and Other Stories (1863) is one of her most notable story collections, as is her children's story collection, Children of the Valley (1901).

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