McHenry, Robert (ed.)
Liberty's Women.
Springfield, Mass: Merriam, 1980.
p. 444-445.

Wilcox, Ella Wheeler (1850-1919), poet and journalist. Born on November 5, 1850, in Johnstown Center, Rock County, Wisconsin, Ella Wheeler grew up there and in Windsor, Wisconsin. She attended local public schools and from an early age was an avid reader of popular literature, especially the novels of Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth, Mary Jane Holmes, and Ouida. Her first published work, some sketches submitted to the New York Mercury, appeared when she was fourteen.Soon her poems were appearing in the Waverly Magazine and Leslie's Weekly. Except for a year, 1867-1868, at the University of Wisconsin, she devoted herself thereafter to writing and soon was making a substantial contribution to the family's support. Her first book, a collection of temperance verses, appeared in 1872, as Drops of Water. Shells, religious and moral poems, followed in 1873 and Maurine, a highly sentimental verse narrative, in 1876. The rejection of her next book, a collection of love poems, by a Chicago publisher on grounds that it was immoral helped insure the success of the book when it was issued by another publisher in1883 as Poems of Passion, a titillating title that was as racy as any of the contents. The sale of 60,000 copies in two years firmly established her reputation. In May 1884 she married Robert M. Wilcox, a businessman with whom she lived in Meriden, Connecticut, until 1887 and in New York City until 1906. While making herself the center of a literary coterie she continued to pour out verses laced with platitudes and easy profundities; they were collected in such volumes as Men, Women, and Emotions, 1893, Custer and Other Poems, 1895, Poems of Pleasure, 1888, Poems of Power, 1901, Poems of Sentiment, 1906, Poems of Progress, 1909, Pastels, 1909, Sailing Sunny Seas, 1910, Gems, 1912, Cameos, 1914, and World Voices, 1918. She also wrote much fiction, including Mal Moule'e, 1885, Perdita and Other Stories, 1886, An Ambitious Man, 1887, A Double Life, 1890, Was it Suicide?, 1891, Sweet Danger, 1892, An Erring Woman's Love, 1892, and A Woman of the World, 1904. She published two works of autobiography, The Story of a Literary Career, 1905, and The Worlds and I, 1918. She contributed columns of prose and poetry to various newspapers and articles and essays to Cosmopolitan and other magazines. After her husband's death in 1916 she made her long-standing interest in spiritualism the subject of a series of columns as she sought--successfully, she claimed--to contact his spirit. (Her interest in such topics had earlier found outlet in such books as The Heart of the New Thought, 1902, and New Thought Common Sense, 1908.) At his direction (she said) she undertook a lecture and poetry-reading tour of Allied army camps in France in 1918. She fell ill early in 1919, spent some time in a nursing home in Bath, England, and died at her home in Short Beach, Connecticut, on October 30, 1919.