This weekend I was in DC. On Saturday morning, I thought I’d take a stroll over to Georgetown to visit the site of Southworth’s house on Prospect St. and to see her gravestone in Oak Hill Cemetery, since I hadn’t paid a visit in about a decade.  The cemetery, in the northeast corner of Georgetown, is home to many important figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, “Home Sweet Home” songwriter John Howard Payne, a number of Civil War generals and Confederate spies, and Washington Post editor Katharine Graham.  Jefferson Davis’s grave was even there until 1893.

Southworth's grave marker in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, DC.  June 2015.

Southworth’s grave marker in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, DC. June 2015.

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Recently I came across Southworth’s name on the program of a session of the World’s Congress of Representative Women, a six-day event held at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (running from May 15 to 21).  Southworth was listed as a participant on the sessions of the American Protective Society of Authors (Thursday, May 18), and the title of her paper is given as “Between Two Fires–Publisher and Plagiarist.”  The other speakers included such notable names as Clara Barton, Grace Greenwood, and Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher.  I was very excited to imagine Southworth, at age 73, attending the World’s Fair and taking part on this panel on the issue of authors’ rights.  However, accounts of the session make clear that she was not actually present in Chicago to give her remarks, which were read to the audience by Mrs. Leila Roby of Chicago.  According to the Latter Day Saints Evening Star (Vol. 55, p. 504), Southworth and Grace Greenwood were “both too ill to come.”

The account given by the Daily Inter Ocean [a Chicago newspaper] on May 19, 1893 seems to record Southworth’s remarks in full, with the interesting note that they were presented as potentially Southworth’s last written work: Read the rest of this entry »