Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie's Biography (Books)
Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie (1819-1870) was an author, playwright, public reader, and actress.
Anna Cora Mowatt's first book, Pelayo, or The Cavern of Covadonga, was published in 1836, then Reviewers Reviewed in 1837 using the pseudonym "Isabel". She wrote articles which were published in Graham's Magazine and Godey's Lady's Book and other periodicals. She wrote a six-act play, Gulzara, which was published in New World. Under the pseudonym Henry C. Browning, she wrote a biography of Goethe. Using the pseudonym "Helen Berkley", she wrote two novels: The Fortune Hunter and Evelyn. Evelyn is written in the epistolary style. In 1841, due to financial problems, Anna became a public reader. Her first performance was attended by Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote of her, "A more radiantly beautiful smile is quite impossible to conceive." Her readings were popular and well attended, but her career as a reader was short lived due to respiratory problems. While recovering from her illness, she returned to her writing.
In 1845, her best-known work, the play Fashion was published. It received rave reviews and opened at the Park Theatre, New York, on March 24, 1845. On June 13, 1845, she made another career move to acting, she debuted at the Park Theatre as Pauline in The Lady of Lyons with great success. Although her next play, Armand, the Child of the People was published in 1847, and also received good reviews, she continued in her acting career. She performed leading roles in Shakespeare (for instance, in a production of Cymbeline in London, 1843), melodramas, and her own plays. She toured the United States and Europe for the next eight years.
On February 15, 1851, her husband, James Mowatt died. After a short break she resumed her acting career. In December 1853, her book Autobiography of an Actress was published. Anna Cora Mowatt's last appearance on the public stage was June 3, 1854.
Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie wrote the novel Mute Singer, published in 1861. She wrote Fairy Fingers, published in 1865. In 1865, she moved to England, where she wrote The Clergyman's Wife, and Other Sketches in 1867. Anna Cora Ogden Mowatt Ritchie died in Twickenham, England, on July 21, 1870. She is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in London, beside her first husband, James Mowatt.