Term: Wilcox, Ella Wheeler 1850 - 1919
poet, author, b. Johnstown. She moved to Westport, Dane County, as a child, and attended the Univ. of Wisconsin (1867-1868). She began writing at an early age and had published numerous poems by the time she was eighteen. Her first book of poetry, Drops of Water (1872), a temperance work, was followed by Shells (1873) and Maurine (1876). She then worked briefly on a trade journal in Milwaukee, but soon returned to her family's farm in Westport, where she devoted her time to creative writing. Her first major success, Poems of Passion (1883), had a wide circulation, in part due to the publicity that followed its initial rejection on the grounds of immorality. Among her other works were Sweet Danger, Men, Women and Emotions, and Poems of Pleasure. In 1884, after her marriage to Robert M. Wilcox, she left Wisconsin and settled in Connecticut where, in the years following her husband's death (1916), she became an advocate of spiritualism. During World War I she was active in Red Cross work with the A.E.F. in France. Although never receiving critical acclaim, her sentimental "escape" literature found a receptive audience and made her a popular writer of her generation. Dict. Amer. Biog.; E. W. Wilcox, Worlds and I (New York, 1918); J. Ballou, Period Piece (Boston, 1940); M. P. Wheeler, Evolution of E. W. Wilcox (Madison, 1921).
The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Ella Wheeler Wilcox Letters for details.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]