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Frances Anne Kemble (Dictionary of American Biography)

Reference

Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1961), 5: 315-16.

In May 1835 she published, in two volumes, Journal of a Residence in America, which was a record of her tour, and freely though goodnaturedly she criticized the various American customs. The young republic was touchy, however, and for a time she was roundly abused. The winter of 1838-39 she spent with her husband on his Georgia plantation where for the first time she saw the inside workings of slavery and realized the source of her husband’s income. She was deeply revolted and again kept a journal, but she refused to publish it until the Civil War, when she issued it to influence British opinion (Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation, 1863). Her visit to Georgia deepened the gap which tastes and temperament had already made between her and her husband….In 1848 her husband sued for divorce, alleging abandonment. The case was long a famous one, especially as she was defended by Rufus Choate. The divorce was granted in 1849, after Fanny had returned to America and discovered a way to employ her talents successfully without appearing on stage. She gave public readings from Shakespeare, and so great was the demand to hear them, in England as well as America, that she was able to purchase a cottage in her beloved Lenox, in the Berkshire Hills, where she made her summer home for the next few years.
How to Cite This Page: "Frances Anne Kemble (Dictionary of American Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/17549.