MISS LAURA JEAN LIBBEY, whose fascinating works of fiction have placed her in the galaxy of the world’s most popular novelists, is a striking illustration of what a well directed ambition, seconded by undoubted talent and a dauntless energy of purpose, may accomplish when properly used by its possessor.
At an early period in her life she became imbued with the idea that she had a mission to accomplish, and that her pen was the proper medium through which she must make herself heard in this practical, busy, unsentimental world.
She saw about her on every hand thousands of young women of her own immature age– for Miss Libbey was a mere girl when she began her career as an authoress — struggling against fearful odds for a poor existence at best. Being a woman of lively sympathies, she became deeply interested in the welfare of her toiling sisters everywhere throughout the world, and she nobly resolved to consecrate her life and her talents to the amelioration of their condition — to make her genius the lever which should raise them to the dignity of true womanhood, unfettered by the gyves and chorus of relentless, poorly requited toil.
Miss Libbey’s first efforts in the domain of literature were made through the columns of THE FIRESIDE COMPANION in New York City, and they at once enlisted the sympathies and approval of those in whose behalf they were made.
She was at once recognized as the valiant champion of the weak and oppressed, pointing a moral in all she wrote, and adorning her narratives with rare touches of human nature, in which were beautifully limned some of the sweetest fancies of her highly imaginative nature.
Of course her genius at once met with substantial recognition on the part of her publisher and the thousands of readers she had rallied about her.
Unlike many young authors and authoress who become intoxicated with their first draughts of success, and lay aside their pen when it should be most busily employed, Miss Libbey did not permit her first successes to turn her from the purposes of life to which she had consecrated herself.
With her great literary gifts she has also an exhaustless capacity for work which continually goads her on to new triumphs in her chosen profession and her disposition is never more cheery than when her hand finds some new field of endeavor in which to scatters the pearls of thoughts which her ever ready intellect is richly stored.
Miss Libbey is an indefatigable worker, and this quality in her nature has aided greatly in placing her in the proud position which she now occupies as the most popular authoress of refined fiction in the United States Her most famous novels, “A forbidden Marriage,” Miss Middleton’s Lover,” and The Loan of a Lover,” published in THE FIRESIDE COMPANION, for which publication she is at present writing exclusively, all stamp her as a writer of the most brilliant and imaginative order.
Miss Libbey is a resident of the city of Brooklyn, in which city she is regarded with high favor in the most select intellectual circles. In a recent conversation regarding her past accomplishments and future intentions she said that she “felt encouraged from the success which had attended her in the past to go right ahead conquering and to conquer,” adding cheerfully: “the best work of my life is yet to come. I have reached that period of my literary experience where I feel myself unhampered by the doubts and discouragements which attend the young aspirant for literary fame, and now that I know my powers and my capabilities I intend to keep right on entertaining the world with good stories of the most refined and highest type of character. Yes, my stories will all be published in THE FIRESIDE COMPANION, as I have found that excellent journal the most effective avenue of literature though which to make myself heard.”
Miss Libbey’s home-life in Brooklyn, in which are placed her heart’s dearest aspirations, is a peculiarly happy one, and a guiding principle in all her work is that everything which conduces to the happiness of the home circle contributes to the good of the world. Hence her novels are all based on moral ideas and refined tastes, it being an inflexible rule with her to carefully abstain from anything of a debasing mature in the composition of her novels, her ruling desire being to elevate and instruct, while at the same time to entertaining her readers with pleasing fancies, poetic thrills of the imagination, and incidents instinctive with the purest attributes of human nature.
“How do you write your novels, Miss Libbey?” the gifted authoress was asked in her cosy studio.
“I have no formula,” she replied quickly. ” I do not believe any author has. First I cast about for a single thought to weave the plot around, and deliberate long and earnestly whether it shall be a story with a tragedy in it, or one of those simple, pathetic love stories which always touch the hearts of all. I look about for a face in a strange crowd that will strike my fancy. I always find it, and the face turns the tide of my story. If it is gay and debonair, I weave bright scenes around it, if grave and cold, I make the owner of it the hero or heroine–as the case may be–a tragedy.”
A very charming formula is this indeed; although Miss Libbey, with that disdain for any restraint which always characterizes genius, disclaims having any fixed method of writing.
Unconsciously in this formula she outlines the rules which govern her composition, and makes it so instinctive with all that is beautiful, imaginative, and delightful entertaining to her readers.
Life, as she finds it about her, is the fount from which she draws her inspiration, and it is little wonder that her novels possess the charm that makes her a queen in the hearts of all who love good literature, and find in its perusal a respite from the cares and discouragements of this workaday world.
SOURCE: The Fireside Companion. April 19, 1890. This was a newspaper clipping in the Levy Feminine Writers Collection in the Special Collections Department of New York University. Series II, Subseries C, Box 5, Folder 9, Brenners Scrapbook.