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Frances Hodgson Burnett

As a child

Frances Hodgson Burnett was born at Cheetham Hill, Manchester on November 24, 1849. Four years after her birth, her father died, leaving her mother with five children and little money. Her mother carried on the family business, running a wholesale firm that supplied art materials to wealthy manufacturers. Her efforts failed in part due to the effects of the American Civil War. Through this, Frances seemed to have been happy and had a fertile imagination. She wrote her first poem at the age of 7 and began writing melodramatic novelettes.

As an adult

She began moving in literary circles, which would continue for the rest of her life. She entertained lavishly, began taking an enormous interest in dress and clothes and a deep interest in the dramatization of her books. Success followed success.

As an artist

Frances decided to send a story to an editor. Her paper and postage-stamps for the venture had to be earned by picking and selling wild grapes. In 1868, at the age of 18, her first stories were published in Godey's Lady's Book: Hearts and Diamonds and Miss Caruther's Engagement. She began to write five or six stories each month, for $10 apiece and supported her family by writing. Her first novel for children, written at the suggestion of her son Vivian was Little Lord Fauntleroy, published in 1885. Her son wrote, "It's sales reached proportions at that time unusual for a children's story and began to produce royalties that far out-distanced any that the already well-known authoress had received on successful novels for adults . The book earned her more than $100,000 with a hugely successful play following it. Velvet suits became a world-wide fashion craze, much to the dismay of many young boys

Things you didn't know about Frances Hodgson Burnett

  1. The Society of British Authors gave Frances a banquet in her honor as well as a diamond ring and bracelet and a certificate of thanks
  2. In 1890, her eldest son died of consumption and she was consumed with overwhelming grief
  3. In 1905 she became a United States citizen.
  4. Her last public appearance was the screening of Little Lord Fauntleroy the film in 1921, starring Mary Pickford as Cedric.
  5. Her second son, Vivian, was the model of the title character in her children's novel, "Little Lord Fauntleroy."
  6. She died at the age of 74 on October 29, 1924

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