Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was born in Baltimore, Maryland and the only child of free African American parents. She was raised by her aunt and uncle after her mother died when Frances was three years old.
As a poet, author, and lecturer, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a household name in the nineteenth century.
Harper published her most famous novel Iola Leroy in 1892.
Not only was she the first African American woman to publish a short story, but she was also an influential abolitionist, suffragist, and reformer that co-founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.
After teaching for two years in Ohio and Pennsylvania, she embarked on a career as a traveling speaker on the abolitionist circuit. She helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad and wrote frequently for anti-slavery newspapers, earning her a reputation as the mother of African American journalism.
The Frances Ellen Watkins Harper House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
This is a private residence and not open to the public.