This collection contains a transcript of Bernie Babcock's autobiography.
Bernie Smade was born in Union, Ohio, on April 28, 1868, the first of six children, to Hiram Norton Smade and Charlotte Elizabeth Burnelle Smade. Her family moved to Russellville Pope County, where Smade attended public school. On March 17, 1884, when she was fifteen, she read her impassioned essay at the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) Convention, which was published by request of the Russellville WCTU. She enrolled in Little Rock University, paying her way by working as the college president’s housekeeper. Bernie married William Franklin Babcock in 1886 with whom she had five children and was married eleven years until his death. Bernie was determined to make a living by writing so that she could stay at home and raise her family; at night, she wrote stories and poems that she sent to editors across the county. Her first book, The Daughter of the Republican, was published in 1900 and sold 100,000 copies in six months. It was followed by The Martyr (1900). These were “temperance novels,” describing the suffering caused by the consumption of liquor. Her books and emotionally charged tracts on the subject were credited with helping to bring about the national prohibition amendment in 1920. When her youngest child started school, Babcock became society page editor for the Arkansas Democrat. Bernie lived out the rest of her life in a small house on top of Petit Jean Mountain, where she began to paint and continued to write. In 1959, she published her only volume of poetry, The Marble Woman. She died at home on June 14, 1962, a few weeks after her ninety-fourth birthday; a neighbor found her sitting with a manuscript in her hand. Her mountaintop retreat had been aptly named—Journey’s End. She was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock.
Document, 8.5" x 11"
Bernie Babcock autobiography, SMC.046.010
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives
Bernie Babcock autobiography, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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United States History