The Magazine Novels of Pauline Hopkins Summary

Pauline Hopkins

The Novels

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

In Hagar’s Daughter: A Story of Southern Caste Prejudice, Hagar marries Ellis Enson, and they have a child. Shortly after that, St. Clair Enson, Ellis’s cruel, dissolute brother, appears with a slave trader, Walker, to prove that Hagar is of mixed blood. Hagar does not know of her heritage and has been reared as white. After much soul searching, Ellis decides to ignore Hagar’s race and to take her and the child to Europe. Upon learning of this plan, St. Clair beats Ellis severely and leaves him for dead. Hagar and her daughter then become the property of St. Clair, who sells them at a slave market. Believing Ellis to be dead and herself to be beyond help, Hagar jumps into the Potomac, carrying her daughter along with her.

Twenty years later, in Washington, D.C., Cuthbert Sumner is charged with the murder of Elise Bradford. Summer’s fiancée, Jewel Bower, marries him as he awaits trial. Her father dies. At Sumner’s trial, the identities of various characters are revealed. St. Clair Enson, using the name General Benson, and Walker, using the name Madison, have attempted to bilk the Bowen family out of its fortune. St. Clair, who fathered Bradford’s child, murders her to keep her from interfering with his plan to marry Jewel and gain control of her money. Sumner is framed in order to remove him from Jewel’s life. Henson, a detective, admits that he is Ellis Enson, and Mrs. Bowen identifies herself as Hagar.

Sumner is acquitted, and St. Clair and Walker are arrested. Ellis and Hagar are reunited, and soon Hagar finds evidence proving that Jewel is their daughter. Sumner rejects her. He overcomes his prejudice too late and learns that she is dead.

In Winona: A Tale of Negro Life in the South and Southwest, the title character and Judah live with White Eagle, an English aristocrat who is murdered by Colonel Titus. Warren Maxwell, in search of the heir to a fortune, meets Winona and Judah and hopes to take them to England, but Bill Thomson claims he...

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Hagar’s Daughter: A Story of Southern Caste Prejudice, 1901-1902

(Great Characters in Literature)


Hagar, a beautiful woman first married to Ellis Enson, then to John Bowen. Until St. Clair Enson breaks the news, Hagar is unaware of her African American heritage. She and Ellis have a daughter; after she believes Ellis to be dead, Hagar attempts to take her own life and that of her daughter. She eventually learns that the child she and Bowen have reared is her own daughter. After Bowen’s death, she remarries Enson.


Jewel, the title character, adopted by Bowen and his first wife. She loves her stepmother, Hagar, but does not learn that Hagar is in fact her natural mother and that she is part African American until after she marries Cuthbert Sumner. Jewel dies of Roman fever at the age of twenty-one.

Ellis Enson

Ellis Enson, a Southern aristocrat, Hagar’s first husband. He is attacked and left for dead. Believing his wife and daughter to be dead, he changes his name and becomes a famous detective.

St. Clair Enson

St. Clair Enson, the major villain. He masterminds a scheme to get rich by marrying Jewel. He changes his name to Colonel Benson and later kills his mistress, Elise Bradford.

Cuthbert Sumner

Cuthbert Sumner, a Northern aristocrat framed for the murder of Elise Bradford. He marries Jewel, unaware of her African American heritage. Detective Henson clears him of the murder charge.

Aurelia Madison

Aurelia Madison, a participant in the scheme to defraud the Bowens.