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About Amelia Edith Barr / Noteworthy People of Richmond Hill / Historical Places of Richmond Hill
More About Amelia Edith Barr
"Noted Novelist and Resident of Richmond Hill"
Researched by Carl Ballenas

The following Newspaper Articles researched by Historian Carl Ballenas prove testament to the remarkable literary life of the Author/Novelist Amelia Edith Barr.

Amelia Edith Barr

(Courtesy the Lucy Ballenas Collection)

Richmond Hill Record
Friday, July 24, 1914
Noted Novelist Will Make Her Home
On Greenwood Avenue

It will be of interest to every one in Richmond Hill, and to thousands of people elsewhere, to know that Mrs. Amelia E. Barr, the celebrated novelist, has become a resident of Richmond Hill. Mrs. Barr recently sold her beautiful place, "Cherry Croft," on Storm King Mountain and has taken up residence on Greenwood Avenue. Mrs. Barr's books have delighted two generations of readers and will go on giving pure and genuine pleasure to lovers of good stories for all time to come. And not the least interesting, by any means, is her autobiography, "All the Days of My Life," published only a year or two ago, the remarkable life story of a remarkable woman.

Richmond Hill Record
Friday, April 9, 1915
Visits Princeton on Her Birthday
And is soon to Issue 65th Novel

Mrs. Amelia E. Barr celebrated her 84th birthday on Monday of last week by a trip to Princeton, N. J., where she was a guest of Col. William E. Libbey, of Princeton University, who was her pupil in school many years ago. On her return to her home in Richmond Hill Mrs. Barr was the recipient of many messages of congratulations. Mrs. Barr expects to finish her sixty-fifth novel next week.
The Brooklyn Times quotes Mrs. Barr as saying recently: "I keep my health because I keep my illusions. I do not believe that every one is false. I will not believe that hope tells a flattering tale or that friendship is only a name, or that true love has fled from the earth and that the fear of God has vanished. Love is life. So much love, so much life, and few women, have been so well loved as I."

Richmond Hill Record
Friday April 5, 1918
Thinks the War will Prove Beneficial

With eighty-seven busy, useful years to her credit, Mrs. Amelia E. Barr, the novelist, who celebrated her most recent birthday at her home here last Saturday, has more spirit than many youth on the very threshold of life. Her confidence that great good is to come out of the war, her belief in human nature and her remarkable activity are all shown in statements she made while enjoying the celebration of her natal day at her home.
"This war, terrible as it is, is going to be a good thing for America, I think." said Mrs. Barr. "The men are coming back from battle better men than when they went in, and the women are going to rise to meet them."
"Have you ever noticed," she continued with a twinkle, "that whenever there is a demand for any type of woman whatsoever, that type immediately appears in great numbers? Of course," she went on more seriously, "the war is arousing women; too awakening their spirit of self sacrifice".
"Then you were not pleased with American women previous to the war?" she was asked.
"Well, I haven't much patience with women who go trotting about attending to politics and everything else but what they are supposed to," confessed Mrs. Barr. "If a woman stays at home, bears children, nurses them and brings them up as she should, and reads and cultivates herself so that she will not be a fool beside them when they are grown up, she will not have much time for anything else."
"The trouble with American women is that they have lost their religion," she continued thoughtfully. "A woman who does not have religion, I do not insist on any special creed, is not worth the food she eats. Yes, I believe the war is going to make us all more religious."
Mrs. Barr, mother of fifteen children and the author of nearly eighty books, published three novels last year, and has just sent a fourth to the publisher. "I suppose I shall begin on another as soon as I get rested," she said.
"Not until this study has been housecleaned," interrupted her daughter with a stern glance.
The remarkable woman laughed. "I won't let them touch anything when I am working," she said.
Mrs. Barr has not been outside her home here for two years, but she goes very actively about, giving an eye to the details of her housekeeping.
"The outside world comes in to me," she said. "People come to see em from all parts of the country, and I receive so many wonderful letters that I feel very rich and happy."

Richmond Hill Record
Wednesday, March 15, 1919
Her Career was a Notable One

Mrs. Amelia Edith Barr, the famous novelist, and the author of more than 70 books, died Monday night in her 88th year at her residence, 8524 110th Street. Mrs. Barr's last novel "The Paper Cup" was completed in June, 1918, and she had been ill since that time. She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Kirk Monroe, wife of the writer of popular stories for boys; Mrs. Edward Munro, and Miss Alice Ellen Barr.
Mrs. Barr was born at Ulverton, Lancashire, Eng., on March 29, 1831. Her father, the Rev. Dr. William Henry Huddleston, was a scholar and preacher of eloquence, having descended from a family of Saxon extraction, whose paternal members for generations had either been seamen or preachers of the Gospel. The girl's education was begun under the supervision of her father, with whom she was in close sympathy. He was a regular contributor to English reviews and the child was brought up in a literary atmosphere. At the age of 6 years she is said to have known intimately the tales of the Arabian Nights, and in those days Jacob Abbott's "Young Christian" was one of her prized books.
In speaking of books Mrs. Barr often said that to them she owed all she knew. At 17, she entered a famous Free Kirk Seminary in Glasgow, where she remained until her marriage to Robert Barr in 1850.
A few years after her marriage, Mrs. Barr, her husband and two children came to America, first locating in New York City, later in the West, and finally at Austin, Tex. Here Mr. Barr established a profitable business and was for some time secretary to Gen. Sam Houston, to whom he was attached. The Civil War completely changed their financial condition and between 1861 and 1865 the Barrs experienced many vicissitudes.
But in spite of her household cares Mrs. Barr found time to accomplish many other things. During the war playing cards were hard to purchase, and being an ardent whist player, she painted a pack of cards which were pronounced to be an exact counterpart of the original set. She also ruled all the tax papers and made all the envelopes used in the various departments of Government during the last two years of the war.
In 1867, the Barrs having moved to Galveston, the husband and three sons died of yellow fever within a few weeks. The widow and her three daughters came North in the autumn of 1869. A $5 bill and faith in God, Mrs. Barr once said, was all she possessed on which to start a new life. Arriving in New York City, she rented a few rooms at 27 Amity Street, a house once occupied by Edgar Allen Poe, although she was not aware of the fact then.
After a time she began to write newspaper sketches, short stories and short miscellaneous articles of all kinds, even preparing advertisements. For 14 years she struggled, meeting with success and disappointment. In 1884 her first novel, "Jan Vedder's Wife" appeared. The success of this book almost immediately placed her in the front rank of popular American novelists. From that time her success was phenomenal. Over 53 when her first book was published, she had produced since that time on an average of over two novels a year. She did not possess an unsold manuscript. Her productions were sold outright and before the war, in foreign countries as well as at home.
Mrs. Barr has been called the pioneer of the American historical novel. Years ago she made a thorough study of the early history of Manhattan Island, and around the various periods of that history she wove romances at once interesting and historically accurate.
The funeral services were held at Mrs. Barr's late home yesterday morning, at 10 o'clock, the Rev. Walter Austin Wagner, pastor of the Union Congregational Church, officating, and the internment was in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, at Tarrytown, N.Y., in the plot with the late Dr. Louis Klopsch, editor of the Christian Herald, who made a request in his will that some of his best friends might find a resting place beside him.

Richmond Hill Record
Wednesday, June 25, 1919
Authoress Leaves Property to Her Daughters,
Mrs. Eliza Barr Morgan Reciving the Bulk

The will of Mrs. Amelia E. Barr, the well-known authoress, who died on March 10 last at her home at 445 Bedford Avenue, Richmond Hill, has been filed for probate with Surrogate Noble at Jamaica. The estate is valued at $555.
To Eliza Barr Morgan of 8528 107th Street, is given all her mother's books, papers and unfinished manuscripts. The executors are given all the furniture and clothing, and another daughter, Alice Edith Barr, also of 8528 107th street, is to have the use of them during her life in such manner at such times as may seem best to her sister, Eliza. The latter is to receive the furniture and clothing at the death of Alice. The remainder of the estate is to be invested for the benefit of the daughter, Alice, and at her death, the principal is to go to her sister, Eliza, or the latter's children. Should Eliza have died without leaving children, the principal is then to go to a third daughter, Mary Munro, of Cocoanut Grove, Fla., who is the wife of Kirk Munro, the well-known writer of boys' stories.
The daughter, Mrs. Morgan, and Henry Chudeayne, of Newburgh, N. Y., are appointed executors. The will was executed on January 26, 1890.

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