Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Anna Cora Mowatt (MOW-uht) was born Anna Cora Ogden in 1819, She was the daughter of Samuel Gouverneur Ogden, a New York merchant, and Eliza Lewis, the granddaughter of Francis Lewis, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Samuel Ogden had taken his family to live in France while he conducted business related to his import-export company. Anna Cora was seven when the family returned to the United States. She was the ninth of her parents’ fourteen children.
Among the activities of this large family were the writing and producing of skits and plays. Anna Cora (called Lily by her family) was educated primarily at home. She loved to read, and by her own account had read and reread the plays of William Shakespeare by the time she was ten. She became the adapter, producer, and leading actor of the family’s amateur theatricals.
When she was thirteen she met James Mowatt, a wealthy New York attorney, thirteen years her senior. He took a great interest in Anna Cora’s education, and before she was fifteen he had proposed marriage. Because her father insisted that she not marry until she was seventeen, Anna Cora secretly married James in 1834, at fifteen.
James bought Melrose, an estate in Flatbush on Long Island. There, Anna Cora continued her education under the supervision of her husband. During her studies she became interested in epic poetry and wrote her own epic poem, Pelayo: Or, The Cavern of Covadonga....
(The entire section is 1529 words.)
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