Author Information At the Circulating Library
Author: May Agnes Fleming (1840–1880)
Alternate Name(s): Early (maiden name); Cousin May Carleton (pseudonym)
Biography: May Agnes Fleming was born in 1840 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Her father, a Catholic immigrant from Ireland, worked as a ship's carpenter in the busy and cosmopolitan port of Saint John. Fleming attended a convent school and, while still there, began writing stories for newspapers and magazines. She went on to be a highly popular and prolific author of serialized novels for American newspapers which were then published as well-selling books. In 1865, she married John William Fleming, a boilermaker, after a three-week courtship. The couple had six children. Fleming supported the family with her pen, moving from one lucrative contract to another. From 1872 until her death, her stories appeared in The New York Weekly and the London Journal before book publication. She wrote dozens of novels, drawing on domestic, gothic, romantic, and sensational elements. In 1875, Fleming and her family moved to New York to be closer to her publishers: from then, her marriage faltered due to her husband's intemperance and her health failed due to kidney disease. She died suddenly in 1880 at age thirty-nine.
References: Benson; Lorraine McMullen et al, Silenced Sextet: Six Nineteenth-Century Canadian Women Novelists (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1992); The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature (2001)