Frances Anne Kemble

1809–1893
Frances Anne Kemble

Born in London, abolitionist, poet, and writer Frances Anne (Fanny) Kemble was raised in a family of prominent stage actors. She began her career as an actor and after a tour of the United States, she married Pierce Mease Butler, one of the largest slaveholders in the nation. The narrative of her four-month stay at a Butler plantation, Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 (1863), offers an eyewitness account of the horrors of slavery. Kemble waited more than 20 years to publish the volume, out of fear of antagonizing Butler, who maintained custody of their two children following the couple’s 1848 divorce. In her metrical poems, often composed as sonnets, Kemble frequently engaged themes of faith, power, and the natural world.

Poems

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