Laura Elizabeth Richards

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Laura Elizabeth Richards (Howe)

Birthdate: (92)
Birthplace: Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: January 14, 1943 (92)
Gardiner, Kennebec, ME, USA
Place of Burial: Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe; Samuel Gridley Howe; Julia Ward Howe and Julia Howe
Wife of Henry Richards and Henry Richards
Mother of Alice Maud Richards; Rosalind Richards; Henry Howe Richards, Jr.; Julia Ward Shaw; Maud Richards and 4 others
Sister of Julia Romana Anagnos; Florence Marion Hall (Howe); Henry Marion Howe; Maud Howe Elliott and Samuel Gridley Howe, Jr.

Occupation: 1917 Pulitzer Prize winning author
Managed by: Allan Stam
Last Updated:

About Laura Elizabeth Richards

Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards (February 27, 1850 – January 14, 1943) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to a high-profile family. During her life, she wrote over 90 books, including children's, biographies, poetry, and others. A well-known children's poem for which she is noted is the literary nonsense verse Eletelephony.

Her father was Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, an abolitionist and the founder of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind. Samuel Gridley Howe's famous pupil Laura Bridgman was Laura's namesake.

Julia Ward Howe, Laura's mother, was famous for writing the words to The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

In 1871, Laura married Henry Richards. He would accept a management position in 1876 at his family's paper mill at Gardiner, Maine, where the couple moved with their three children.

In 1917, Laura won a Pulitzer Prize for Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910, a biography, which she co-authored with her sister, Maud Howe Elliott. Her children's book Tirra Lirra won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1959.

A pre-kindergarten to second grade Elementary School in Gardiner, Maine honors her name.



Author. Born to distinguished parents, Samuel Gridley and Julia Ward Howe, she was surrounded by language and arts all of her life. Her namesake was her father's famous pupil, Laura Bridgman. At age twenty-one she married Henry Richards. During this time they had their first three children and she began to write and sing. Surrounded by the babies the rhymes came easy for her and her style of non-sense verses developed. When Henry accepted a management position with his family's paper mill they moved to Gardiner, Maine. The home they purchased and painted yellow is to this day aptly named Yellow House. Their next four children were born here. In 1880 she had her first three books published, with several more volumes to follow throughout the 1880's. In 1891 she published "Captain January", which was later adapted into a movie starring Shirley Temple. She was very active in Gardiner starting several clubs, a philanthropic union, and the Gardiner Library Association. In 1900 she founded Camp Merryweather with her husband. Situated on Great Pond, in Belgrade this was the first summer camp for boys in Maine and ran until the outbreak of World War II. Laura wrote several biographies later in her life including, each of her parents, Florence Nightingale, and Laura Bridgman. The biography of her mother, "Julia Ward Howe 1819-1910", which she co-authored with her sister Maud Howe Elliot, won her the first Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1918. In 1932 she published "Tirra Lirra: New Rhymes and Old". During the course of her life she wrote over 90 books. Laura died at Yellow House.

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Laura Elizabeth Richards's Timeline

February 27, 1850
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States
July 24, 1872
Age 22
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
June 30, 1874
Age 24
Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine, United States
February 23, 1876
Age 25
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
August 30, 1878
Age 28
Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine, United States
August 30, 1878
Age 28
Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine, United States
November 7, 1881
Age 31
Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine, United States
February 13, 1884
Age 33
Maine, United States
February 12, 1886
Age 35
Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine, United States