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Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard Biographical Information

Identifier: SMC-005

Scope and Contents

The collection contains an introduction to the writings of Elizabeth B. Stoddard from 1949-1966 and a typescript biography of Elizabeth written by Robert Cantwell of Sherman, CT. Mr. Cantwell made corrections in ink on the typescript.


  • 1949-1966


Access Restrictions

No restrictions. Open for research.


Copyright is retained by the authors, or their descendants, of items in these papers as stipulated by United States copyright law.


Elizabeth Drew Barstow (1823-1902) was born in Mattapoisset, Massachusetts, on May 6, 1823. She attended Wheaton Seminary between 1840 and 1841.

Elizabeth married Richard Henry Stoddard in 1852 and thereafter lived in New York. Her husband was a well-known and respected poet, editor and critic, but Elizabeth was herself a poet, short-story writer, and novelist, writing in the realist style. Mrs. Stoddard published her first story in the Atlantic in 1861; her novel, The Morgesons, was published a year later. This was followed by Two Men, 1865; and Temple House, 1867. She also wrote stories and poems for many magazines such as Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly and The Independent, 1858-93.

The Morgesons drew from Henry James "the most ferocious, in fact vicious, review Henry James is known to have written":

[The Morgesons] possessed not even the slightest mechanical coherency. It was a long tedious record of incoherent dialogue between persons irresponsible in their sayings and doings even to the verge of insanity. Of narrative, of exposition, of statement, there was not a page in the book... [The reader] arose with his head full of impressions as lively as they were disagreeable.

[Alfred Habegger, Henry James and the 'Woman Business', 2004.]

More recently, scholars have attempted to improve Stoddard's place in the development of women's literature.

See reprint editions of her novels in the Wheaton Authors Collection for further biographical information.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Found in Collection. Acquisition information not available for this collection. Collection inputted into database in 2008.

Related Archival Materials

1. Susan Belasco, "Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard, the Daily Alta California, and the Tradition of American Humor", American Periodicals, Vol. 10, 2000, pp. 1-26 [].

2. Lynn Mahoney, Elizabeth Stoddard & the Boundaries of Bourgeois Culture (Studies in Major Literary Authors). James H. Matlack, "Hawthorne and Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard", The New England Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 2, June, 1977, pp. 278-302 [].

3. James H. Matlack, The Literary Career of Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard, 2 vols., University Microfilms Dissertations.

4. Julia Stern, "'I Am Cruel Hungry: Dramas of Twisted Appetite and Rejected Identification in The Morgesons,' Knowledge of the Gap: American Culture, Canons, and the Case of Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard", ed. Rob Smith and Ellen Weinaur; Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 2003, pp. 107-127.

Inventory of the Elizabeth B. Stoddard Biographical Information
Ashley Kuhn, W09
November 2008
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Repository Details

Part of the Marion B. Gebbie Archives and Special Collections Repository

Wheaton College
26 East Main Street
Norton Massachusetts 02766