Writer Augusta Jane Evans, a cotton factor’s daughter, was born in Columbus, Georgia, but moved to Mobile at the age of 14. Just one year later, she wrote her first novel “Inez: A Tale of the Alamo,” which she presented to her family as a Christmas gift.
According to historian and MB contributor John Sledge, “Three years later she followed up with ‘Beulah,’ which sold an astonishing 20,000 copies, and the proceeds allowed her family to buy the handsome country residence Georgia Cottage on Springhill Avenue. At 33, she finished her most successful novel, “St. Elmo.”
Considered one of the most popular novelists of her time, Evans, who married Lorenzo Wilson in 1868, was the first woman author to earn more than $100,000, a record that would be surpassed by Edith Wharton.
Original photo from the Gaillard family collection | Colorization by Dynamichrome Limited