James, an American author, born in Canterbury, England, Feb. 9,1822. At five years of age he was brought to New York, and at 19 he became a teacher in an academy at White Plains, Westchester co., and afterward in Philadelphia and New York. His first literary employment was on the staff of the "Home Journal" of New York, with which he was connected about three years. Since then he has devoted himself to literary labor and public lecturing. In March, 1875, he purchased a house in Newburyport, Mass., intending to make it his future residence. He has published a "Life of Horace Greeley" (New York, 1855; new ed., 1868); a collection of " Humorous Poetry of the English Language, from Chaucer to Saxe " (1857); " Life and Times of Aaron Burr " (1857; new ed., 2 vols., 1864); " General Butler in New Orleans" (1863); " Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin " (2 vols., 1864); " Smoking and Drinking," and " People's Book of Biography " (1868); " Famous Americans of Recent Times " (1870); " Triumphs of Enterprise, Ingenuity, and Public Spirit" (1871); "Topics of the Time" (1871); " Words of Washington " (1872); and " Life of Thomas Jefferson " (1874). In 1875 he was engaged upon a series of articles for "Harper's Monthly" on "Caricatures in all Times and Lands." For 15 years he has been collecting materials for a life of Voltaire.
Sara Parson Willis, wife of the preceding, born in Portland, Me., July 7, 1811, died in New York, Oct. 10, 1872. Her father, Nathaniel Willis, was for many years editor of the " Boston Recorder." She was married to Charles H. Eldredge, cashier of the merchants' bank, Boston, with whom she lived for several years in affluence and happiness; but upon the death of her husband she was suddenly thrown upon her own resources to provide a maintenance for herself and two children. After unsuccessful attempts to procure employment as a teacher and in other vocations, she turned her attention in 1851 to literature, and prepared a short essay which was rejected by the editors of several Boston journals. One of them at length purchased it for half a dollar; it proved successful, and was rapidly followed by others, which soon made her pseudonyme of " Fanny Fern" famous. A collection of her sketches was published in 1853 under the title of "Fern Leaves," of which 70,000 copies were sold in a short time. This was followed by " Little Ferns " (1853), " Fern Leaves, Second Series " (1854), "Ruth Hall," "Rose Clark," "Fresh Leaves" (1857), " The Play Day Book " (1857), "Folly as it Flies" (1868), "Ginger Snaps" (1870), and "Caper Sauce" (1871). For the last few years of her life she was chiefly employed in writing for the " New York Ledger." She was married to Mr. Parton in January, 1856. - See "Fanny Fern, a Memorial Volume, containing her Select Writings and a Memoir," by James Parton (1873).