Daily Archives for: July 20th, 2021

Jean Webster, Author of Daddy-Long-Legs

Jean Webster (July 24, 1876 – June 11, 1916) was an American author best known for her enduring girls’ novel, Daddy-Long-Legs (1912), which was successfully dramatized two years after its publication. Her fiction reveals her dedication to social welfare and her characters often triumph over destitution and injustice.

Born Alice Jane Chandler Webster in Fredonia, New York, the name Jean was acquired later, as a young woman. Her parents, Charles Webster and Annie Moffett Webster, were married in 1875; Alice was their firstborn.

 

A childhood as Alice

Alice didn’t brag about her great-uncle, Samuel Clemens, who was becoming famous as author Mark Twain — Pamela, in the photograph, being his sister, Jane his mother.

Unsurprisingly, Alice’s childhood was an artistic one. Her grandmother had been a music teacher and “from her earliest childhood, books, and those of the best” surrounded Alice.

Twain established the publishing house Charles L. Webster and Company and appointed Alice’s father as its business manager in 1884 out of frustration with his previous publishers’ delays and royalties. Also in 1884, Alice’s brother Samuel was born, the family’s youngest of three; there were eight years between Samuel and Alice, five years between her and William.

The firm found tremendous success with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) and The Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, which Charles was instrumental in soliciting, having previously met Grant while working as an engineer out west.

The extended family now lived in New York City during the year and Long Island in the summer. But Charles’ work was increasingly demanding; networking with the firm’s agents required lengthy and frequent travel.

His health declined in concert with the firm’s fortunes, Read More→


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