At the Circulating Library Author Information: William Kirkus
Author: William Kirkus (1830–1907)
Alternate Name(s): Florence Williamson (pseudonym)
Biography: The Rev. William Kirkus was born in 1830 in Hull, the son of Congregational minister Robert Kirkus. He attended Lancashire College and the University of London (LL.B. 1850 and MA 1871) before becoming a Congregational minister in 1851. For sixteen years, he was the pastor of St. Thomas Square chapel in Hackney; afterwards, for two years, he was a pastor in Manchester. While in the latter post, he resigned his ministry and entered the Church of England. In 1872, he moved to New York before taking a parish in Baltimore for sixteen years. He retired in 1892 and moved to Brooklyn where he died in 1907 leaving a widow and one son (who also became a clergyman). Kirkus was widely read and wrote numerous articles and a handful of religious books. In his retirement, he edited The American Literary Churchman. In the 1860s, he also wrote two novels under the pseudonym "Mrs. Florence Williamson": Frederick Rivers, Independent Parson (1864) and Only to be Married (1867). Many reviewers saw through the ruse of a man passing for a woman author.
References: The Churchman [NY] (20 July 1907); Who's Who in New York (1905)
- Frederick Rivers, Independent Parson. 1 vol. London: Williams and Norgate, 1864.
- Only to be Married: A Novel. 3 vol. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1867.