Prentiss, Elizabeth (1818 - 1878)

Genre: Children's Literature, General Fiction, Poetry

Elizabeth Payson Prentiss was born and raised in Portland, the daughter of a Congregational minister. Before her marriage, she opened her own school (at age 19) and taught at a private girls' school for a few years, but ill health prevented her from continuing her work. She married George Lewis Prentiss, also a Congregational minister, in 1845, and gave birth to 6 children (2 died young).

During her lifetime she lived in Richmond, VA, New Bedford, MA, Newark, NJ, and Switzerland (1858-1860), but her primary home was in New York City, with a summer home in Dorset, VT, where Prentiss died.

Prentiss published her first story in 1834, when she was 16, but didn't write again for publication until the 1850s, after the deaths of two of her children. She published stories in Youth's Companion, The New York Observer, and others.

Selected Bibliography

  • Little Susy's Six Birthdays (1853)
  • The Flower of the Family (1853; first novel)
  • Only a Dandelion, and Other Stories (1854; collected earlier stories)
  • Henry and Bessie; or, What They Did in the Country (1855)
  • Little Susy's Six Teachers (1856)
  • Little Susy's Six Servants (1856)
  • Peterchen and Gretchen, Tales of Early Childhood (1860; transl. from German)
  • The Little Preacher (1867)
  • Fred, and Maria, and Me (1867)
  • The Old Brown Pitcher (1868)
  • Stepping Heavenward (1869)
  • Nidworth (1869)
  • The Percys (1870)
  • The Story Lizzie Told (1870)
  • Six Little Princesses (1871)
  • Aunt Jane's Hero (1871)
  • Golden Hours (1874)
  • Urbane and His Friends (1874)
  • Griselda (1876)
  • The Home at Greylock (1876)
  • Pemaquid (1877)
  • Gentleman Jim (1878)
  • Avis Benson (1879 - posthumously)