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 Laura Jean Libbey

Laura Jean Libbey

Birth
USA
Death 25 Oct 1925 (aged 63)
Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Burial Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Plot Section 196, Lot 29258
Memorial ID 3351 · View Source
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Author, Businesswoman. She is most remembered as the author of at least 82 dime romance novels written for a female audience. Some of her initial stories were first published in serialized story papers such as “The New York Family Story,” “The Fireside Companion,” and the “New York Ledger”. These stories were later reprinted as dime novels. All her stories had the same plot: A beautiful, young lady is alone in the world; she meets an older wealthy man; adventures happen between a villain and a hero; and in the end they marry and are “happy ever after.” She was the daughter of Thomas Libbey and Elizabeth Nelson, who was a strict, domineering mother who ruled Libbey's life even to forbidding her to marry. Although she had little formal education, she started writing at the age of twenty years old. She had contacts in the publishing world that aided in her success. A smart business woman, she earned about $60,000 a year from her published books, which numbered from 10 to 15 million copies in her lifetime. From 1891 to 1893, she was the editor of George Munro's magazine “Fashion Bazaar” with a salary of $10,400 a year. She wrote a love advice column for “The New York Mail” entitled “Cupid's Red Cross: First Aid to Wounded Hearts.” The column was not a success as her thinking was not modern enough. Although she wrote about young women marrying, she waited until her mother died before marrying at the age of 36 to a lawyer, Van Mater Stilwell. They had no children and she retained the name “Laura Jean Libbey” for her business. She was a private person, and outside her family, she had few real friends. She lived her life in Brooklyn, New York except for trips to promote her books. Several of her novels were made into screenplays for silent movies: “When Love Grows Cold” in 1925, “A Poor Girl's Romance” in 1927, and “In a Moment of Temptation” in 1928. Her business and personal papers including a journal of a trip to Europe were archived at Rutgers University in New Jersey, in the Bonner Collection at the New York Public Library and the University of Virginia Library. She died from post-operative complications of a surgery related to cancer. She purchased her own gravestone with the name “Laura Jean Libbey” in bold letter and she shared the marker with her mother. Her paperback books are rare as many libraries just “threw them away”, hence are worthy collector's items.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 2 Aug 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3351
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Laura Jean Libbey (22 Mar 1862–25 Oct 1925), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3351, citing Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .