Myra Douglas



Myra Douglas (1844?) was an American writer and poet. Since her childhood she has written stories and verse for The Waverly Magazine and Literary Repository and Ballou magazine, both of Boston, and other prominent periodicals. Her poems were included in nearly all standard collections of American verse.

Myra Douglas (sometimes spelled, "Douglass") was born in Adrian, Michigan, 1844. Her father, Dr. John Wilkes Douglas, was of English and Scots parentage. He was one of the wealthiest men of that state. He was a physician or lawyer, and a politician. He served in the war of 1812. Her mother was of French ancestry.

Her first marriage was to Dr. Samuel Smith in West Unity, Ohio; the marriage proved unhappy and she secured a divorce. Her second marriage was to William Smith, a painter; he died three years after their marriage. Years later, she married John Gwynne, a railroad man, who also died. She had one child, a daughter, who 'inherited her mother's talents'. When writing, she used her maiden name, and appears to have been known as 'Mrs. Douglas'.

In 1906, out of money, Douglas wrote to the St. Louis police chief, Edmund P. Creecy asking him to "find something for her to do". She had lost her home in St. Louis in a deal, pawned all of her jewellery, removed to Santa Barbara, California, and then returned to St. Louis, Missouri.

Douglas was a writer since childhood, but her stories and verses were not published until adulthood. She contributed to many periodicals, among them Waverly, Ballou, Baltimorean, Colman's Rural World, and others. She was a contributor for years to the St. Louis Critic, a weekly paper of her own city. She received letters of congratulation from Frances Cleveland, former First Lady of the United States, Mary Simmerson Cunningham Logan, Mrs. Hendricks; also Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard wrote her words of praise and thanks for some of her Poems of the South. She used her maiden name in her work, and all her contributions bore the same signature.

  Who was Dr. John Wilkes Douglas? I can find no trace of this wealthy politician. Are any details of her daughter known?
Could this be him? mini bio



Sources for this article include:
  •  Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century: Thomas William Herringshaw, (1904)

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    Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024