Anna Cora Mowatt (Ritchie) an American authoress and actress, born in Bordeaux, France (where her father, Samuel C. Ogden, a merchant of New York, was then established in business), in 1819, died in England, July 28, 1870. She was the 10th of a family of 17 children. Her early childhood was passed in a château in the neighborhood of Bordeaux, in the private theatre of which she frequently participated in juvenile dramatic performances. When she was about six years of age the family returned to New York. While at school she attracted the attention of James Mowatt, a lawyer of New York, with whom she made a runaway match in her 15th year. During the first two years of her married life she published two poems, "Pelayo, or the Cavern of Cova-donga" (1836), an epic in five cantos, and "The Reviewers Reviewed" (1837), a satire against the critics of the former poem. Her health failing, she made a visit of a year and a half to Europe, during which she wrote for private performance a play entitled "Gulzara, or the Persian Slave" (1840). After her return she gave a series of public dramatic readings in Boston, Providence, New York, and other cities.
Her exertions produced a serious illness, and for two years she was a confirmed invalid, during which time she contributed to the magazines under the pseudonyme of Helen Berkley. In 1842 she published "The Fortune Hunter," a novel; in 1845 a five-act comedy entitled "Fashion," which was played at the Park theatre, New York, with considerable success; and in 1847 another drama entitled "Armand, or the Peer and the Peasant," which was represented at the Park theatre in 1848. On June 13, 1845, she made her public debut at this theatre as Pauline in the "Lady of Lyons," and thenceforth for many years was a popular actress. In 1847 she made an extended professional visit to England, where in 1851 her husband died; and in 1854 she played a series of farewell engagements in the United States and left the stage. She was married on June 7 of that year to W. F. Ritchie, editor of the Richmond "Enquirer." Her later works ar,-: "The Autobiography of an Actress" (1854); "Mimic Life" (1855); "The Twin Roses"(1857); "FairyFingers"(1865); "The Mute Singer" (1866); and "The Clergyman's Wife and other Sketches" (1807). She published also several compilations.