Susanna Rowson, circa 1800.
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Watercolor profile portrait of Susanna Rowson.

Credit: Courtesy of the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, MSS 7379

After emigrating from England to Philadelphia in 1793, Susanna Rowson (1762-1824) became one of the nation's best selling authors, writing plays and novels that included Charlotte Temple, which Philadelphia publisher Mathew Carey made into the first American best-seller and which was performed at Philadelphia's Chestnut Street Theatre from 1794 to 1796. Rowson wrote her works for "the fair sex"; that is, the growing readership of American women.

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