Fanny Fern was born Sara Willis in 1811. She was an American newspaper columnist, humorist, novelist, and author of children's books in the 1850s through the 1870s. Fern's popularity is attributed to her conversational style that struck a chord with her intellectual female readers. Some of her published works include Ruth Hall, Fanny Ford, Rose Clark, Little Fern's for Fanny's Little Friends, The Play-Day Book, and The New Story Book for Children.
Susan Belasco is professor emerita of English and womens studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She edited Margaret Fullers Summer on the Lakes and Fanny Ferns Ruth Hall, and coedited several collections of essays and anthologies of American literature, including The Bedford Anthology of American Literature, Volumes I and II, and Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays.