Woman of the Century/Julia C. R. Dorr
DORR, Mrs. Julia C. R., poet, born in Charleston, S. C, 13th February, 1825. Her mother, Zulma De Lacy Thomas, was the daughter of French refugees who fled from San Domingo during the insurrection of the slaves near the close of the last century. The mother died during Mrs. Dorr's infancy, and her father, William Young Ripley, who was a merchant in Charleston, returned in 1830 to Vermont, his native state. There he engaged in business again, and devoted himself chiefly to the development of the Rutland marble JULIA C. R. DORR. quarries. There his daughter grew to womanhood, in a home of culture and refinement. When the poet was a little child, she began to write, but none of her poems were printed until she became a woman grown. In 1847 she became the wife of Hon Seneca M. Dorr, of New York. Himself a man of wide culture, he gave to Mrs. Dorr the encouragement and stimulus which directed her to a literary life. In 1847 he sent one of Mrs. Dorr's poems, without her knowledge, to the "Union Magazine," and this was her first publisned poem. In 1848 her first published story, "Isabel Leslie." gained a one- hundred dollar prize offered by Sartain's Magazine." In 1857 Sir. Dorr took up his residence in Rutland, Vt, and since that date the author's pen has rarely been idle. Her work has constantly appeared in the best publications, and her books have followed each other at intervals until 1885, when her latest volume. "Afternoon Songs," appeared. Herbooksare: "Farmingdale" (New York, 1854), "Lanmere" (New York, 1855), "Sybil Huntington" (New York, 1869), "Poems" (Philadelphia, 1871), "Expiation" (Philadelphia, 1873), "Friar Anselmo and Other Poems" (New York, 1879), "The Legend of the Babouhka" (New York, 1881), "Daybreak" (New York, 1882), "Bermuda" (New York. 1884), "Afternoon Songs" (New York, 1885). In Mrs. Dorr's poems are found strength and melody, sweetness and sympathy, a thorough knowledge of poetic technique, and through all a high purpose which renders such work of lasting value. Her stories are particularly skillful in detail and plot, in the interpretation of the New England character. Her essays on practical themes of life and living have had a wide circulation and a large influence. A series of essays and letters publisned some years ago in a New England magazine and addressed to husbands and wives were collected and published without her consent by a Cincinnati publishing house. Mrs. Dorr's social influence in her own town is wide and strong, and from one who knows her well come these apppreciative words: "When summer days were long, and she was bearing the burden and heat of the day as a young wife and mother, Mrs. Dorr's life was eminently quiet and secluded, her pen being almost her only link with the outside world. But with the autumn rest have come to her wider fields and broader activities. In and around her beautiful home, enriched with treasures from many lands, there has grown up a far-reaching intellectual life, of which she is the soul and center. She is loved and honored in her own town, and there hundreds of women, of all ranks, turn to her for help and inspiration. The year of Mr. Dorr's death, she became the leader of a band of women who founded the Rutland Free Library, the success of which has been so remarkable. Mrs. Dorr is still president of the association, and has given to the library, in memory of her husband, what is said to be the finest and most complete collection of books on political science to be found in New England, outside of Cambridge University." The character of Mrs. Dorr's personal influence is such as to leave a lasting impression upon the men and women of her time, and the quality of her work assures for her books a permanent place among the best achievements of literary workers in America.