Eleanor H. Porter (1868-1920), American author best known for her Pollyanna novels. "It's funny how dogs and cats know the inside of folks better than other folks do, isn't it?"-- from Pollyanna (1913).
Eleanor Hodgman Porter was born in Littleton, New Hampshire on 19 December 1868, the daughter of Francis Fletcher Hodgman and Llewella Woolson. She became an excellent singer after studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She married John Lyman Porter on 3 May 1892 and started writing short stories, usually set in New England, which were published in the popular magazines and newspapers of the day including Woman's Home Companion and Harper's Weekly.
Cross Currents (1907) was her first full-length novel to be published, followed by The Turn of the Tide (1908) and The Story of Marco (1911). Miss Billy (1911) was her first commercial success, followed by Miss Billy's Decision (1912) and Miss Billy Married (1914). However, with the arrival of Pollyanna (1913) Porter won international acclaim. The young orphan Pollyanna Whittier was inspiration to young boys and girls everywhere with her irrepressible optimism and joie de vivre, "just breathing isn't living!". "Glad Clubs" sprang up, and the book was adapted for the theatre, television and screen productions. Mary Pickford starred in the silent version of 1920, Hayley Mills in the 1960's version.
Pollyanna Grows Up (1915) follows the heroine in Europe with her Aunt Polly and Dr. Chilton, faced with yet more of life's seeming insurmountable hurdles. It was followed by Just David (1916), another orphan who transforms the lives of the people he meets. The Road to Understanding (1917); Oh, Money! Money! (1918); Dawn (1919); and Mary Marie (1920) were titles to follow. Eleanor Hodgman Porter died at home in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 21 May 1920. She lies buried at the Mount Auburn Cemetery of Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the plaque on her grave etched -- "Who by her writings brought sunshine into the lives of millions"
Biography written by C.D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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