Woman of the Century/Rebecca Sophia Clarke
CLARKE, Miss Rebecca Sophia, author, born in Norridgewock, Maine, 22nd February, 1833. She has spent much of her life in her native town. Miss Clarke is widely known by her pen-name, "Sophia May," which she adopted in 1861 and attached to her first story, published in the Memphis "Appeal." When the story was finished, she signed her middle name, Sophia, and then said: "Well, I'll call it May, for I may write again and may not." Thus the surname was invented that has become so familiar to American boys and girls. Among her early productions were some stories for Grace Greenwood's "Little Pilgrim." She was asked by the editor of the "Congregationalist" to send to that journal all the stories she might write about "Little Prudy." She then had no thought of making a book of the stories. William T. Adams, known as "Oliver Optic," brought them to the attention of Mr. Lee, who published them and paid Miss Clarke fifty dollars for each of the six volumes. These charming stories of "Prudy" and her aunts, sisters and cousins have been said to be portraits, but Miss Clarke disclaims any such delineation. The "Prudy" stories are sold in large numbers every year. In 1891 Miss Clarke published her last book, "In Old Quinnebasset" She resides with her sister, Miss Sarah Clarke, who, as "Penn Shirley," is also a successful author. Miss Clarke's publications, in book form, all issued in Boston, are: "Little Prudy Stories" (1864-6), six volumes; "Dotty Dimple Stories" (1868-70), six volumes; "Little Prudy's Flyaway Series" (1871-74), six volumes; "The Doctor's Daughter" (1873), "Our Helen" (1875); "The Asbury Twins" (1876); "Flaxie Frizzle Stories" (1876-84), six volumes; "Quinnebasset Girls" (1877); "Janet, or a Poor Heiress." (1882); "Drones' Honey" (1887); "In Old Quinnebasset" (1891).