Woman of the Century/Amelie Rives Chanler
CHANLER, Mrs. Amelie Rives, author, born in Richmond, Va., 23rd August, 1863. Her mother, Miss Macmurdo, was the granddaughter of Bishop Moore, of Virginia, and from her and the grandmother Mrs. Chanler inherits the beauty as marked as her mental gifts. Her father. Colonel Alfred L. Rives, is a distinguished engineer and the son of Hon. William C. Rives, three times minister to France, member of the United States Senate, and the author of a "Life of Madison." Miss Rives passed her childhood between Mobile, Ala., and William Rives' country place. Castle Hill, in Albemarle county, Ya. When she was about sixteen years old, her father, on the death of his mother, fell heir to the estate, and from that time they made it their permanent home. From the time she was nine years old Miss Rives found her greatest delight in her pen, writing freely and without restraint whatever occupied her fancy for the time. Her writings were never criticised, and rarely read, and to that habit of freedom is perhaps due the strong individuality of style which has carried her so successfully through what has been, so far. a most daring as well as a most brilliant literary career. Her love of art only seconded that of literature, and her life has been spent in pursuit of both. In 1886 Miss Rives published anonymously, in the "Atlantic Monthly," "A Brother to Dragons," a story of the sixteenth century, so powerful that it attracted widespread attention both in this country and in England. The same year a sonnet of great strength appeared in the "Century," signed by Amelie Rives, and she was soon identified as the author of "A Brother to Dragons." Many orders were received by her for stories and poems, but she preferred not to hurry into print, and published the following year, 1887, only two short stories, "The Farrier Lass o' Piping Pebworth" in "Lippincott's Magazine," and "Nurse Crumpet Tells the Story," in "Harper's Magazine." In 18S9 appeared in 'Lippincott's Magazine" "The Quick or the Dead." That story, or rather study, as Miss Rives called it. at once launched her on the sea of literature as a novelist of undoubted power. Criticism came from all sides. The story was translated into French, and appeared in the "Revue des Deux Mondes." It was impossible that so daring a venture should escape censure, but Miss Rives kept her balance through blame and praise alike, writing steadily and studying, filled with a purpose to perfect herself in the art she considers the greatest, determined to retain her individuality while constantly striving to throw aside the faults of youth and literary inexperience. In June, 1888, she became the wife of John Armstrong Chanler, a grandson of John Jacob Astor. Mr. Chanler. who has spent much of his life abroad, was imbued with the same love of art and literature that had formed the mainspring of Miss Rives' life, and was anxious that his wife should perfect her art studies. That summer she published her first drama, "Herod and Mariamne," written three years before, and in April, 1889. she sailed for Havre. After traveling for some months she settled in Paris for hard work, but was greatly interrupted by ill-health. Unable to paint, she continued to write and study, perfecting herself in French and reading widely in all branches of English literature. None of her European work has been published, except a study of life in the Latin Quarter, entitled "According to St. John," which appeared in the "Cosmopolitan" as a serial, in 1891. In the month of August, 1891, she returned to America. She was followed shortly by Charles Lasar, an artist and teacher of prominence in Paris, under whom she will study at he r home in Castle Hill during the fall and winter months for several years to come. A second drama, entitled "Athelwold." was published in "Harper's Magazine" of February, 1892, and has received high praise from the leading literary papers of the North. Mrs. Chanler has but just begun a career which promises to be enduring as well as brilliant. She is impressed by the feeling that what she has done is but a preparation, "musics," as she is fond of expressing it, for the message she feels she has to deliver, and every power of an intense and earnest nature is bent on putting to the best uses the talents which she looks upon with a deep sense of responsibility.