Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook

Biography of Sarah Louisa P. Smith

Sarah Louisa P. Hickman was born in Detroit, Michigan on June 30th, 1811, where her grandfather, Major-general William Hull, was governor of the Michigan Territory at that time. Louisa moved to Newton, Massachusetts with her mother and sister whilst still in her infancy. Louisa’s mother had moved back to Newton—the place where Louisa’s maternal family had lived for many years—with the intention of providing her two daughters with an education.
   Louisa was quick to attract the attention of her instructors at an early age. Louisa was observed to be an incredibly fast learner and exceptional student, while also maintaining a sense of humility. She earned multiple awards at school for her proficiency. She had great affection for her fellow classmates, who returned her friendliness and proudly shared in the rewards of her accomplishments. Though she quickly became renowned for her seemingly effortless perceptive skill and memory, Louisa remained focused on developing her talents in writing poetry and prose.
   Louisa shared her early writings with her teachers and family friends, and eventually began sending samples to different periodicals under various signatures (I.L.C.,S.L.,Ella). Her submissions were well-regarded and were reprinted often. Her writing drew comparisons to such poets as Henry Kirke White and Felicia Hemans. When it was revealed that the person responsible for the published pieces was a fifteen year old girl, the public was initially skeptical, but soon became convinced when Louisa promptly provided original pieces at the request of several publishers.
   In the autumn of 1828, 17 year old Sarah Louisa P. Hickman married an editor of a Providence literary periodical—Mr. S. J. Smith. Before the newlywed couple moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, (where they would have two sons), Louisa’s husband published a volume of her poems both old and new. The book enjoyed success and garnered critical praise along the east coast, and Louisa became a known talent of that region.
   Sarah Louisa P. Smith died on February twelfth, 1832 at the age of twenty-one. It was widely believed that she had not yet reached the height of her literary powers, and would have enjoyed further success had she not died at such a young age.

S, L. K. "ORIGINAL BIOGRAPHY." The New - York Mirror: a Weekly Gazette of Literature
            and the Fine Arts (1823-1842) Mar 10 1832: 284. ProQuest. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.
"OUR FEMALE POETS." The Baltimore Literary Monument (1838-1839) 11 1838: 72.
            ProQuest. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.