Maria Susanna Cummins was born in Salem, Massachusetts on April 9, 1827. In 1854, she published the novel The Lamplighter, a sentimental book which was widely popular and which made its author well-known. One reviewer called it "one of the most original and natural narratives". Within eight weeks, it sold 40,000 copies and totaled 70,000 by the end of its first year in print.She wrote other books, including Mabel Vaughan, none of which had the same success.
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