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Friday, August 21, 2015


     Metta Victoria Fuller Victor wrote under the names Corinne Cushman, Eleanor Lee Edwards, Mrs. Orrin James, Mrs. Mark Peabody, Mrs. Henry Thomas, Rose Kennedy, Louis LeGrand, Walter T. Gray, The Singing Sybil and authored many other works anonymously. She chose Seeley Regester as her pen name when she wrote The Dead Letter published in 1866 and became the first female writer of a detective novel.
     Credited with writing over 100 dime novels for Beadle’s New York Dime Library she introduced a new and successful series between the mid 19th century and the early 20th.  During that period, workers could attend school, learn to read and relish the written word, distribution had grown with the development of rail and canal transport, and books could be bought at newsstands for a price a low wage earner could afford. Maume Guinea, and Her Plantation “Children” became one of Regester’s biggest sellers and won the acclaim of President Lincoln, Henry Ward Beecher and antislavery supporters.
     A fertile and inexhaustible author, Victor wrote poetry, fiction, articles, humor, cookbooks, books concerned with temperance, books about slavery and, in later years, books spiced with romance. Her first book, written at the tender age of fifteen was Last Days of Yul, A Romance of the Lost Cities of Yucatan.
     In 1856, she married Orville J. Victor, an editor for the Daily Register in Sandusky, Ohio and signed a contract with The New York Weekly. The Weekly won sole rights to her stories for five years and Metta received $25,000—a hefty sum in those days. Orville and Metta had nine children but Metta managed to keep right on writing until she passed away in 1885. Her books are still available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many other sites where books are sold.
     She stands as a materfamilias and inspiration to us all.


Rita said...

Elise. This is absolutely fascinating. I’ve never heard of her. Thank you for sharing this info. And 25 grand in those days was a very big deal. She must have sold a lot of books.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Cool stuff, Elise. Thanks for sharing!

Elise Warner said...

Sold a tremendous amount of books.As the lottery sellers say,"Hey! You never know.

jean harrington said...

$25,000 for most writers today would be a bonanza! She was a rousing success. So glad to hear about her.

Sandy Parks said...

I learned something new. I'd never heard of her, either. And wow, $25 back in the 1800s was a great salary. She surely was a success story in the writing business.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Great information and what a fabulous inspiration! I hadn't heard of her before this.

Maureen A. Miller said...

The Dime Library! Don't let Amazon catch wind of that! :) Great information, Elise.

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