James Parton

On this date in 1822, biographer James Parton was born in Canterbury, England. He moved with his family to New York when he was five. He became a schoolmaster in Philadelphia and New York. He joined the staff of the Home Journal in 1848. After writing The Life of Horace Greeley (1855), a successful book, Parton turned to biography and lecturing. His many biographies include Life and Times of Aaron Burr (1857), Life of Andrew Jackson (1859-1861), Life of Voltaire (2 vols., 1881), Noted Women of Europe and America (1883), and biographies on such deists as Jefferson and Franklin. His first wife, Sara, whom he married in 1856, was a popular novelist under the nom de plume "Fanny Fern." After her death, he remarried in 1876. Parton settled in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in the mid-1870s. D. 1891.

“In the days when to be an Agnostic was to be almost an outcast, he [Parton] had the heart to say of the Mysteries that he did not know.”

—W.D. Howells, Literary Friends and Acquaintance (1901), writing of James Parton

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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