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T. P. O'Connor, d. 1931
My Beloved South
New York; London: G.P. Putnam's Sons; The Knickerbocker Press, 1914, c1913.

Summary

Elizabeth Paschal O'Connor was born in Austin, Texas in 1850 to George Washington Paschal and his second wife, Marcia Duval. Following her mother's death, she was sent to the Georgetown Convent Boarding School outside Washington, D.C. and later to a school in White Plains, New York. After attending a third school back in Texas, Elizabeth returned to Washington, where she made her social debut and was briefly married to F.G. Howard of Washington. During the Civil War, she worked in the United States War Office, a position she obtained with the assistance of Ulysses S. Grant. There she met and befriended Walt Whitman. After the war, Elizabeth Howard moved to New York and read manuscripts for Harper Brothers Publishing Company as a means of supporting herself and her son by her first marriage, Francis Howard. She married the Irish parliamentarian and writer T.P. O'Connor in 1885. The two settled in London, where O'Connor began her career as a journalist. Together she and her husband published the Star newspaper, while Elizabeth O'Connor wrote I Myself (1910), Little Thank You (1912), My Beloved South (1913), Dog Stars (1915), Herself Ireland (1917), and The Hat of Destiny (1923). She died in London on September 1, 1931.

Elizabeth O'Connor opens My Beloved South (1913) with a dedication to Thomas Nelson Page for glorifying the Old South. O'Connor assumes Page's nostalgic tone and perspective as she recounts her impressions and remembrances of the region. She begins by reliving her family history, emphasizing her relatives' achievements. Her great-grandfather served in the Revolutionary War, and her grandfather conducted important negotiations with the Mickasookie (Miccosukee) Indians of Florida to prevent a brewing massacre. The narrative also contains descriptions of her childhood in Texas, her relationships with enslaved African Americans, and the overall quality of life before the Civil War. O'Connor reminisces about the social and historical significance of a variety of southern places, from cities including Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, and Louisville to her home state of Texas to the central waterway, the Mississippi River. Her narrative style incorporates historical events and imaginative details, including conversations and anecdotes remembered from her extensive travels on the eastern seaboard and in Europe.

Works Consulted: "Mrs. T. P. Connor Dies of Pneumonia," New York Times, 2 Sept. 1931: 21, 10 December 2004, New York Times Historical Newspapers (1851-2001); "O'Connor, Elizabeth Paschal," The Handbook of Texas Online, The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Historical Association, 6 Jan. 2005, <http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/OO/fo'2.html>; Robinson, Doris, Women Novelists, 1891-1920, New York: Garland, 1984.

Armistead Lemon
Harris Henderson

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