Early Illinois Women

Sarah Marshall Hayden, Illinois' First Authoress

Sarah M. Hayden was recognized at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago as Illinois' first woman authoress. Her first novel, Early Engagements, was written when she was sixteen years old, but not published until 1854.

Sarah was born in Shawneetown in southern Illinois in 1825, the year that Marquis de Lafayette visted her hometown. Sarah's father was John Marshall, who served in the Illinois Territorial Legislature held in Kaskaskia in 1818. John Marshall also operated a store and made frequent trips to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for supplies.

Sarah accompanied her father on one of the trips and stayed to attend the Sewickley School, a female "seminary". The school was to play an important role in her first novel.

In 1843, Sarah married John James Hayden. Her first novel and its sequel Florence were not published until 1854. The Haydens moved to Cincinnati. Sarah continued writing both poetry and prose and the works were published in magazines and newspapers. Some of her works appear under the pen name Mary Frazaer.


  1. Witter, Evelyn and David R. Collins. 1976. Illinois Women: Born to Serve. Illinos Federation of Women's Clubs.
  2. Lawler, Lucille. 1985. Amazing Shawneetown. Ridgeway, Illinois.

Contributing Library:

John A. Logan College

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This page last updated: Friday, 24-Sep-1999 14:45:42 CDT

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