CHARLES, Mrs. Emily Thornton

Emily Thornton Charles (2).jpg

Dublin Core


Mrs. Emily Thornton Charles was a prodigious author, poet, journalist and editor. Emily, born in Lafayette, Indiana on March 21st, 1845, liked to write in rhyme as a child and was recognized for her writing skills and her ease at expressing herself.

She attended the free schools of Indianapolis and at the age of sixteen she became a teacher. However, she did not begin publishing until the death of her husband, Daniel B. Charles, a well-known business man in Indianapolis. Mrs. Charles was left a widow at twenty-four years of age, in 1874. At that time she was in poor health. As the provider for two children, she realized she needed a career and discovered she could convert her facility with writing into a successful career in newspapers.

From there she went on in 1876 to publish her first work Hawthorne Blossoms, in Philadelphia. She wrote under the name Emily Thornton and under the nom de plume: Hawthorne. She has the distinction of establishing and operating "The National Veteran" in Washington, D.C. Due to her absorption in her work in 1883, she became overwrought and was confined to her bed. Not one to be idle, Emily Thornton Charles used this time to revise and edit her poetry. The result was Lyrical Poems (Philadelphia, 1886) a 300-page book that established her as a national poet. At the same time she became a popular lecturer/public speaker, addressing large gatherings, including the National Women's Suffrage Convention with her poetical address "Women's Sphere". Her oratory was such that in 1893, she was selected as a speaker in the World's Columbian Exposition.

Emily was a member of the National Women's Press Association, The Grand Army of the Republic and Order of the Eastern Star.


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This Item Contributor Item: Harper's Magazine