Watercolor Miniature of Susanna Rowson, Left Profile

Unknown Artist
ca. 1790
Watercolor on Paper

Susanna Rowson’s first publication, Charlotte Temple (1794), though published anonymously, became America’s first bestselling novel and launched her literary career. The same year, she opened Slaves in Algiers in Philadelphia, a critically-acclaimed play that solidified her reputation as an advocate for women’s rights. It was first performed at the Chestnut Street Theater in Philadelphia.

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.