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Elizabeth Oakes Smith collection

Identifier: 0331

Collection Scope and Content

The collection contains original copies of Smith's first stories "The Western Captive," "The Christian Sisters," and "Gems and Reptiles," published in 1842 and poems published in an 1852 edition of Graham's Magazine. Biographical information is available in photocopied newspaper articles and a web site printout. Also in the collection are two photographic reprints of Smith, one as a young woman and also in her later years. Among the material is a piece of correspondence dated 1866, to a Maine attorney, recommending Smith as a lecturer, either for compensation or for no cost as "she could not fail of satisfying everybody with you."


  • 1842-2007



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Curator of the Maine Women Writers Collection.

Biographical/Historical Note

Elizabeth Oakes Smith was born in North Yarmouth Maine on August 12, 1806, to Sophia Blanchard and David Prince. Fearing for her future, her mother stopped Smith’s educational pursuits and married her to Seba Smith, a graduate of Bowdoin, twice her age. The two would have six children together, four of which would live to adulthood. Smith’s connection to the literary world first came through her husband who owned the first daily paper in Portland, the Portland Courier, in which she was often published. Publishing several works on her own she wrote with the pseudonym Ernest Heifenstein, but once established a “feminist” in 1848, declared the death of this other name. Smith attended the Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in that year and published Woman and Her Needs in 1851. Her reputation became widely known because of her abolitionist support, her views on marriage, and her novel, Newsboy (1854) that brought attention to homeless children in New York. Although there is no proof that her marriage was unhappy, much of her feminist success came from her liberal beliefs on marriage. Wanting independence from her husband, Oakes Smith took legal action to have her children’s surnames changed to Oakesmith. Moving to Long Island in 1860, she and her husband experienced financial hardship. Seba Smith died 6 years later. Smith continued to publish in Beadles Monthly and Home Journal. She died on November 15, 1893 in Hollywood, North Carolina.


6 folders

Language of Materials


Guide to the Elizabeth Oakes Smith collection, 1842-2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Maine Women Writers Collection Repository

Abplanalp Library
University of New England
716 Stevens Avenue
Portland Maine 04103 United States