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Augusta Wilson

1835 - 1909

Alabama author Augusta Jane Evans Wilson was among the most popular novelists of the nineteenth century. She was born May 8, 1835, in Columbus, GA. In 1849, her family moved to Mobile, where she began her career as a writer at the age of fifteen. Wilson published her first bestseller, entitled Beulah, in 1859. Most of Wilson’s work featured female protagonists confronting their religious beliefs or role as a homemaker. Wilson’s most popular novel, St. Elmo (1867), deviated from this model by featuring a male protagonist.


A staunch secessionist, Wilson broke off an engagement with a New York man because of differing political views. In 1864, amid the Civil War, she published Macaria, a pro-Confederate novel. Later in life, she opposed women’s suffrage because it conflicted with her view of a woman’s proper societal roles. She died on May 9, 1909, and is buried in Mobile’s Magnolia Cemetery.

Read more on the Encyclopedia of Alabama


Alabama Department of Archives and History

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