Margaret Hosmer

Only scanty biographical information has been found about Margaret Hosmer. The daughter of Thomas Kerr, she was born in 1830 in Philadelphia,and according to Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, "was educated in the public schools of that city, went to California in 1852, and settled in San Francisco, where she became principal of a public school. Returning to Philadephia in 1860, she engaged in literary work, published two novels [The Morrisons in 1863 and Blanche Gilroy in 1864] [1], and contributed to magazines. In 1864 she returned to San Francisco," and her third novel, Ten Years of a Lifetime was published in 1866. At some point during this period, she married Granville Hosmer, for her married name appears on this volume. (Bibliographic citations for her work prior to 1866 have not been seen.)

In 1869, her only series for girls, the three-volume Little Rosie, was published. Her other juveniles from this time include Under the holly. A book for girls published in 1870 under the pseudonym "A pair of hands" and A rough boy's story from 1871. A short story, "A familiar spirit," (adult fiction) appeared in 1873 in Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine. [3]

In 1875, Hosmer moved back to Philadephia. The Dictionary of American Authors (1897) describes her as "A Philadelphia writer of Sunday-school tales," citing as examples of her work "A Chinaman in California; The Chinese Boy; The Little Captives; [and] Lonny the Orphan" [2]; her entry in Appleton's, published during her lifetime, credits her with two novels and "about twenty-five volumes for juvenile readers." Hosmer's obituary in the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that her husband predeceased her and that she died "[s]uddenly, on Febrary 3, [1897] of pneumonia." She had at least one child, for services were held at "the residence of her son-in-law, George W. MacDonald, 245 South Forty-fifth street."

[1] Although Appleton's gives the date of Blanche Gilroy as 1864, the Library of Congress catalogue shows only an 1871 edition.
[2] The American Antiquarian Society's catalogue cites the latter as Lenny, the orphan; or, Trials and triumphs (1869). "The Little Captives" may also be a misprint or an alternate title for her The child captives, which was originally published in 1870 and reissued in 1976 as volume 83 of Garland Press's Library of narratives of North American Indian captivities.
[3] Available online at Making of America.

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Copyright 2002 Deidre Johnson