Good morning. I am curious, do you like old books? Adventure and interesting women? I found all that and more this weekend when I discovered, The Kingdom of Nature an Illustrated Museum of the Animal World.
The book was copyrighted in 1888, published in 1894 and is interesting for more than one reason. The first that it is filled with 1000 illustrations of animals from all over the world, but even more so in the fact that it was edited by a woman, Mrs. Frank Leslie.
|Image from The Esoceteric Curiosa Blog|
Mrs. Frank Leslie was born 1836, Mariam Florence Folline, and was encouraged from a young age to study French, German, Latin and Spanish. After her first marriage at 17 then an annulment at 19, she married for the second time at 21 to noted archaeologist Ephraim Squier. Eighteen years later they divorced and she married her third husband Mr. Frank Leslie.
Mr. Leslie was the owner of a large publishing empire, Leslie’s Weekly. He and Mariam became acquainted when her second husband, Ephraim Squier became the Editor in Chief of Leslie’s Weekly in 1860. Mariam began writing for Leslie’s Weekly as a fashion editor and after her marriage to Frank Leslie began to write and publish books in earnest for his publishing house about their travels and life together.
Unfortunately lavish spending and the economy took a toll on the publishing business and when Frank Leslie died in 1880 he left everything to Mariam, including his name and $300,000 in debt. After she settled with her creditors and secured a loan from a wealthy friend she turned the business around in one year. She also legally changed her name to Mrs. Frank Leslie in 1881.
During the 1890’s Mrs. Frank Leslie was a writer, a lecturer, and a business owner with several hundred employees. She was also well traveled and celebrated here in America and abroad. It is said that she was most well known woman in America. In addition to all of the above she found time to marry her 4th husband, William Wilde, the brother of Oscar Wilde. Apparently the marriage failed soon after because William was a spendthrift among other things.
Although there are many more things to tell about Mrs. Frank Leslie(her time as an actress, a seven year menage a trois, an affair on her honeymoon, legal battles and more) I will end with this; upon her death in 1914 Mrs. Frank Leslie left roughly 2 million dollars to Carrie Chapman Catt. Do you know of her? Carrie Chapman Catt was a prominent leader of the women’s suffrage movement along with Susan B. Anthony and the founder of the League of Women’s Voters.
Doesn’t Mrs. Frank Leslie sound as if she lived and interesting and colorful life?
Have you found any interesting books or treasures lately? Or perhaps discovered any interesting people? I always enjoy learning new things and if you have I would love to hear about it.
I hope you have a great day! Enjoy!