A Fanny Fern Reader

Selections by a Pioneering Nineteenth-Century Woman Journalist

By Fanny Fern
Edited by Emily E. VanDette
Introduction by Emily E. VanDette

Subjects: American Literature, New York/regional, Women's Studies, Nineteenth-century Studies, American History
Hardcover : 9781438498522, 272 pages, July 2024
Expected to ship: 2024-07-01

The most complete collection of works by the nineteenth century's most famous and groundbreaking woman journalist.


In the middle of the nineteenth century, the highest paid and most famous newspaper writer in the US was a woman known to the world as Fanny Fern, the nom de plume of Sara Payson Willis. A Fanny Fern Reader features a selection of Fern's columns, mostly from her years as a weekly columnist for the New York Ledger, along with an introduction that shares the remarkable story of Fern's perseverance and success as a woman in a male-dominated profession. For readers in her own time, Fern's frank and unbridled social commentary and boldly satirical voice made her a household name. Fern's subversive and witty commentary about social mores, gender roles, childhood, authorship, and family life transcend time and continue to resonate with and entertain readers today. A Fanny Fern Reader is the most extensive collection of Fern's newspaper writings to date and includes several works that have been out of print for over a century, making this author's writing on a wide range of issues accessible for readers within and outside of classrooms and academic settings.

Emily E. VanDette is Professor of English at the State University of New York at Fredonia. She is the author of Sibling Romance in American Fiction, 1835–1900 and lives in Fredonia, New York.


"This collection would fill an important scholarly void by providing an organized collection of Fanny Fern's writings, divided helpfully into topical categories. Scholars and readers no longer will need to search through the disparate sources to find Fern's writings about various subjects. It could be used in American literature course, women's literature course, history courses, women's history courses, journalism courses, and American Studies courses." — Debra Brenegan, author of Shame the Devil: A Novel

"Offers academics in the fields of American periodicals and journalism history, as well as lay readers, a selection of writings from a compelling nineteenth-century writer who was perhaps the best-known woman columnist of her era. It would work well in undergraduate courses in journalism, American periodicals, and women’s literature." — Cynthia Patterson, Associate Professor of English, University of South Florida