Allen, Elizabeth (1832 - 1911)

Genre: General Fiction, Poetry

Elizabeth Anne Chase Akers Allen was born in Strong, Maine, and grew up in Farmington, having been sent alone to Farmington Academy. Her early life was hard: she was often beaten and locked in the cellar.

Allen had three children and was married three times, first to Marshall Taylor in 1851, whom she divorced; then to Maine sculptor Benjamin Paul Akers in 1860 (he died of tuberculosis in 1861); and finally to Elijah M. Allen in 1865. She eventually moved to Tuckahoe, NY, where she spent the last three decades of her life. She also worked in Washington, D.C., from 1863-1865 as a government clerk, and she lived in Richmond, Va., for a short time.

Her most famous poem, which was later set to music, is 'Rock Me To Sleep, Mother' (1860), a sentimental hymn to motherhood for which Alexander M.W. Ball of N.J. contested ownership. She also published several books of poetry and two series of travel writings from trips to Italy around the time of the U.S. Civil War. Her travel columns tended to emphasize Maine's advantages over the places about which she was writing. She was a pioneering woman journalist in Maine, writing and serving as assistant editor for the Portland Transcript from 1855 until the war, and after the war as associate and literary editor of Portland's Daily Advertiser. She also was a foreign correspondent in Italy for the Boston Evening Gazette.

Selected Bibliography

  • Forest Buds, from the Woods of Maine(1856), written under the pseudonym Florence Percy
  • Poems (1866/1868)
  • Queen Catherine's Rose (1885)
  • The Triangular Society: Leaves From the Life of a Portland Family (1886), her only novel
  • The silver bridge, and other poems (1886)
  • 'Gold nails' to hang memories on: a rhyming review, under their Christian names, of acquantances in history, literature, and friendship (1890) editor
  • The high-top sweeting, and other poems (1891)
  • The proud lady of Stavoren: a legend of the Zuyder Zee (1897), a pamphlet
  • The Ballad of the Bronx (1901)
  • Sunset Song and other verses (1902)

Selected Resources