EMILY C. JUDSON (1817 – 1854)
The daughter of a struggling farmer and businessman, Emily
Judson earned money as a child by helping her mother run a boarding house and
working in the
woolen mills, receiving an informal and frequently interrupted education.
Impressed by her desire to learn, the preceptresses at the Utica Female
Seminary invited her to study for a year in their school free of cost, after
which they hired her as a teacher. While in
, she began to publish children's
books, earning enough in royalties to house and support her destitute
parents. She also contributed her immensely popular sketches of village life
to periodicals under the pseudonym "Fanny Forester," and much of
her magazine work later appeared in the collections Trippings in Author-Land and Alderbrook, the latter
of which went through many editions.
In 1845 she
met the Rev. Adoniram Judson, the founder of the American Baptist mission in Burma
and a hero of Emily Judson's childhood, and despite the disapproval of both
the Reverend's and the writer's respective circles, they wed in 1846, setting
sail for Burma soon thereafter. In
, Emily Judson cared for her
young stepsons and bore children of her own while learning the local language
and proselytizing to the Burmese. After the deaths of her husband and
youngest son in 1850, she made the nine-month return trip to
with her remaining children in 1851.
Back in the
, Emily Judson
published collections of essays and poetry and assisted a professor at
in preparing a biography of
her husband. The rapid onset of consumptive illness stalled her writing, and
she died in
, at age thirty-six.
Griswold. “The Heroism of the Knights Errant and the Female
Missionaries of America,” in Godey’s
Lady’s Book 37 (1848): 61-68, frontispiece containing five
Hunt, ed. The American Biographical
Sketch Book (1848), plate opposite p. 202.
The American Phrenological Journal, vol. 12 (1850), p. 164.
Hart, ed. Female Prose Writers of
America (1852), plate opposite p. 283.
Hale, ed. Woman’s Record (1853), p. 710; also 1855 ed.
Jones, ed. The Illustrated American
Biography, vol. 1 (1853), p. 177 or p. 339 (two variant issues).
M.S. Willson. The Lives of Mrs. Ann H.
Judson and Mrs. Sarah B. Judson, with a Biographical Sketch of Mrs. Emily C.
Judson, Missionaries to Burmah (1853), frontispiece.
The American Phrenological Journal, vol. 20 (July, 1854), p. 18.
The American Phrenological Journal, vol. 24 (July, 1856), p. 1.
The Ladies’ Repository (April, 1857),
plate preceding p. 193.
The American Phrenological Journal, vol. 26 (July, 1857), p. 5.
Henry Coppée, ed. A Gallery of Distinguished English and American
Female Poets (1860), p. 290.
A.C. Kendrick. The Life and Letters of Mrs. Emily C. Judson (1860), frontispiece.