In 1895, Alice's investments paid high dividends and her writing earned her more than $3,600. Henry Mills Alden had bought a short story, "The Missionary Sheriff," for $620, the most she had ever received for a story, and it was her first to be published in Harper's Magazine. Shortly after it was accepted, Harper and Brothers sent a letter asking that she write a series of short stories to be published first in Harper's Magazine and then to be issued by the publishing house in a single volume in 1897. --McMichael, p. 145.
McMichael's comments are primarily about the sale of the stories and how they mark Thanet's rising success. Rightfully so--the stories are amusing and heart-warming, but there's not a lot of substance here. In fact, themes of absent mothers whose pictures are hidden in bibles repeat, and the focus of the six-story cycle is primarily on Amos Wickliff, who "Alice had tried to show a western character's life and attitudes, and into her hero, Sheriff Amos Wickliff, she put all the masculine virtues she could muster for a rough man" (McMichael, p. 150).
Items of note:
About this project:
I've been saying since 2004 that I was going to write a critical biography of Octave Thanet (Alice French). This blog is the start of that work and will include notes, links to research, and other OT related tidbits.