Cummins, Maria Susanna

MARIA SUSANNA CUMMINS (1827-1866) was born in Salem, Massachusetts. Her father was Judge David Cummins. She was educated at Mrs. Charles Sedgwick's Young Ladies School in Lenox, Massachusetts. Literary influences at school led her to writing novels. She was also a contributor to the Atlantic Monthly. Her book The Lamplighter sold very well.


Books by Maria Cummins:

  • The Lamplighter        
  • Mabel Vaughan
  • Haunted Hearts
  • El Fureidis



This story for young readers has been in constant demand for half a century. At the time of its publication it enjoyed an immediate popularity, second only to Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Scarlet Letter, which were then the most recent successes in American fiction. Forty thousand copies of The Lamplighter were sold within the first two months and its authorized sales soon exceeded one hundred and twenty thousand copies. It was its author's first book and by far the most popular of her works. Originally written for the entertainment of a sick niece, to whom it brought great joy during a long illness, its author had no thought of its publication. The manuscript, however, soon found friends, at whose urgent request it was brought out anonymously. But its writer was soon identified as Miss Cummins, the fact that one of its characters was drawn closely from a recognizable person leading to the discovery of the author.—Author's Digest (1908).


"'The Lamplighter' is one of the most original, interesting, and graphic tales that have appeared, and will shed many a ray around firesides and in hearts where now, it may be, there is much darkness and despair." —Boston Daily Bee (1857).


There is to us a charm about this story which we cannot fully express. We thank Miss Cummins heartily for the pleasure she has given, and is yet to give to thousands of readers.—Norton's Literary Gazette (1881).


It is one of the most original and natural narratives we have encountered for many a year. Nothing could be more simple and unaffected than its delightful style, investing its incidents with an interest so deep that it is impossible to lay aside the work till read through.—Knickerbocker Magazine (1881).


It is a book of no ordinary degree of ability and excellence. Its success is richly merited by its high moral tone, the naturalness of its characters and incidents, and the graces of its style.—Christian Examiner (1881).






Full title: El Fureidis: a Tale of Mount Lebanon and the Christian Settlements in Syria.


The quiet earnestness with which the characters in "El Fureidis" are described, the touching grace and exceeding simpleness of the plot, are the chief features of this novel. Though not aiming to be a religious novel in the ordinary sense of that much abused word, it is a fiction which will not be without its effect in the teaching of the pious lessons of humility, meekness, self-denial, charity, and perseverance.—New York Albiom (1881).


It will be read with very great pleasure and interest. It deals powerfully with the mighty passions of the human heart, — with pride, love, and jealousy.—Boston Advertiser (1881).


"One of the best novels of modern times: a novel as rich in pure sentiment as it is in Christian philosophy, and as glowing in its portraiture of Oriental life as in its description of scenery."—City Press (1862).


 "A thoroughly good book."—Morning Star (1862).


"The best novels, of which 'El Fureidis' is one."—Glasgow Herald (1862).


"Not only has Miss Cummins enhanced her reputation by her present production, but literature has gained a valuable acquisition in this spirited and heart-stirring romance of 'El Fureidis.'"—Leader (1862).


"The author has made good use of her material, and has shown both I skill and industry: she has evidently taken great pains with her work."—Athenaeum (1862).