Elizabeth Oakes Smith Collection, 1842-2006

Click here for Container List

Volume: .50 linear feet

Organization/Arrangement: Organized as a single series.

Biographical Note: Elizabeth Oakes Smith was born in North Yarmouth Maine on August 12, 1806, to Sophia Blanchard and David Prince. Fearing for her future, her mother stopped Smith’s educational pursuits and married her to Seba Smith, a graduate of Bowdoin, twice her age. The two would have six children together, four of which would live to adulthood. Smith’s connection to the literary world first came through her husband who owned the first daily paper in Portland, the Portland Courier, in which she was often published. Publishing several works on her own she wrote with the pseudonym Ernest Heifenstein, but once established a “feminist” in 1848, declared the death of this other name. Smith attended the Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in that year and published Woman and Her Needs in 1851.

Her reputation became widely known because of her abolitionist support, her views on marriage, and her novel, Newsboy (1854) that brought attention to homeless children in New York. Although there is no proof that her marriage was unhappy, much of her feminist success came from her liberal beliefs on marriage. Wanting independence from her husband, Oakes Smith took legal action to have her children’s surnames changed to Oakesmith. Moving to Long Island in 1860, she and her husband experienced financial hardship. Seba Smith died 6 years later. Smith continued to publish in Beadles Monthly and Home Journal. She died on November 15, 1893 in Hollywood, North Carolina.

Description: The collection contains original copies of Smith's first stories "The Western Captive," "The Christian Sisters," and "Gems and Reptiles," published in 1842 and poems published in an 1852 edition of Graham's Magazine. Biographical information is available in photocopied newspaper articles and a web site printout. Also in the collection are two photographic reprints of Smith, one as a young woman and also in her later years. Among the material is a piece of correspondence dated 1866, to a Maine attorney, recommending Smith as a lecturer, either for compensation or for no cost as "she could not fail of satisfying everybody with you."

Access Restrictions: None

Please cite as: Elizabeth Oakes Smith Collection, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine

Container List:
001.  Newspaper articles
002.  Letter from E. O. Smith to H. T. Tuckerman, 1843, removed from The Sinless Child
003.  Photographs (2)--reprints
004.  Poems (2) by E.O. Smith published in Graham's Magazine
005.  Novel and short story: "Western Captive" and "Gems and Reptiles" manuscripts with copies, 1842
006.  Letter 1866 requesting E. O. Smith to lecture in Boston

Published work in periodicals held by MWWC:

Godey's Lady's Book, 1840s
"The Witch of Endor" Graham's Magazine, April 1843
"A Word "Upon Conceitedness" Graham's Magazine, October 1843
"Hokomokl; A Legend of Maine" Portland Transcript, January 6, 1844
"Hokomok" Portland Transcript, November 30, 1844
"Sentiment of Self-Sacrifice." Portland Transcript, February 8, 1845
"Ears" Portland Transcript, February 1845
"The Old Man" Portland Transcript, November 29, 1845
"The Sagamore of Saco" Graham's Magazine, July 1848
"To Mooshead Lake" The Odd Fellow, February 26, 1851
"Phrenological Character" (Biography) The American Phrenological Journal, 1853
"Kitty Howard's Journal" Herald of Health and Journal of Physical of Culture, November 1867