Augusta Evans Wilson



The fame of her nine popular novels, which gave delight to
millions of readers, was international. Her devotion to charitable
civic enterprises and to the Confederate cause was honored by
the leaders of her age.

Augusta Evans Wilson has been called the "foremost Southern novelist of her time." Certainly she was the finest in Alabama, writing for the best-seller lists Inez,, Beulah, St. Elmo, Infelice, Vashti, At the Mercy of Tiberius, A Speckled Bird, and Devota.

But she achieved fame in other areas as well. As a propagandist she wrote, unsigned, a series of fiery articles that appeared in the Mobile newspaper in the fall of 1859. Her most famous piece of propaganda was Macaria, a novel smuggled into the North for publication, slipped into the hands of Union troops and subsequently burned and banned by their commanders. Critics of Mrs. Wilson's novels and their merits have failed to agree. Whether or not her writings possessed the flame of greatness, there has been no question that she depicted the glow and warmth of real people; a tribute to her being the insubordination caused by Macaria among the ranks of the federal army in Tennessee.

Mrs. Wilson began a nursing career during a yellow fever epidemic in Mobile. Her bedside experiences inspired much of the script of Beulah and so fired her with compassion for the sick and wounded that she later established a small hospital on the outskirts of Mobile. After the war she married, and became mistress of "Ashland," a typical Southern mansion with stately drive, luxuriant shrubbery, and lavish hospitality; just such a Southern home as she wrote best and most about. There she became the favorite hostess of the City of Mobile and invitations to her home were sought after through the remainder of her life.

Elected 1953

Alabama Hall of Fame, 1968

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Updated: January 5, 2006