Clara Louise Burnham

The American author Clara Louise Burnham wrote 26 novels between the years 1881 and 1925. Amongst these were Christian Science themed fiction: The Right Princess (1902), Jewel (1903), and The Leaven of Love (1908). These three novels are considered her “Christian Science trilogy.” Burnham’s short stories and novels enjoyed widespread success and were well received, and several of her books were adapted for stage and screen.Burnham was born Clara Louise Root in Newton, Massachusetts, on May 26, 1854. She was the daughter of Dr. George F. Root, a composer famed for his American Civil War songs, such as “The Battle Cry of Freedom” and “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching.” Her brother Frederick W. Root was a musician who wrote both hymn texts and one hymn melody found in the Christian Science Hymnal. The Root family moved to Chicago, Illinois when Clara was a child, and she spent the rest of her life living between Chicago and her summer home at Bailey’s Island, Maine, where she died June 20, 1927.While Clara Louise Burnham’s fiction may not be well known today, her popularity went well beyond the Christian Science community, as one biographer noted: “To write twenty-six books is something, is it not? To have written twenty-six books which have sold half a million copies (the publisher's offhand guess) is something else again and more. Clara Louise Burnham has done that; and the cold arithmetical statement does not begin to convey the real nature of her achievement. You must read her to know how capable a novelist she is, how expert, how gifted with humor, insight, fertility in those slight inventions which make up the reality of a fictionist's whole….” (Grant M. Overton, The Women Who Make Our Novels, New York: Moffat, Yard & Co., 1918, 267)(Biographical information taken from: http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/r...)

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