Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jane Pentzer Myers

Jane Pentzer Myers (b. Walworth County, Wisconsin, 23 September 1847; d. Boone, Iowa, 18 November 1926)

Jane Pentzer Myers published only one book, a collection of twelve children’s fantasies, Stories of Enchantment (Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1901), illustrated by Harriet Roosevelt Richards.  Several of the stories contain Native American elements, like “The Ghost Flower” and “The Corn Fairy”, and thus may be placed alongside similar works of the same time-period like Zauberlinda the Wise Witch (1901) by Eva Katharine Gibson and some of the stories by L. Frank Baum. Myers's narratives are skillful—one is surprised that this is her only book.  

Very little is known of the author. She was born Jane Pentzer Hamlin in southeastern Wisconsin in September 1847; her father, Alanson Hamlin (1815/20-c.1855), was from Connecticut, her mother, Elizabeth J. Bassett (1824-after 1860), from England. She was the third child of five or six, having two older brothers, one younger sister and one younger brother. By 1860 she and her siblings were living with a family surnamed Kent—presumably relations (possibly the Elizabeth J. Kent listed is their remarried mother)—near Oran, in Fayette County in northeastern Iowa.  On 3 July 1866, in Fairbanks, Iowa (in Buchanan County, the next county to the south of Fayette), she married William D. Myers (1846-1921), and they settled in Humboldt County, in the northern central part of Iowa—first in Livermore, and then in Springvale (which was later renamed Humboldt). In 1880 they were running a restaurant, but by 1900 William was working as a general agent for machinery, and in 1910 he gave his occupation as gardener. They had four children, three sons and one daughter.  According to the 1920 Census, enumerated on January 19th, they were living in Oswego, in Labette County in southeastern Kansas, joined by one of their widowed sons, William E. Myers.

*This entry was revised and updated on 10 October 2012; and again on 15 January 2019.


  1. Got a typo in your text: 1847 not 1947. You got it right in the sub-heading.

  2. Thanks! I fixed it. No matter how many times one proofs one's own writing,it seems all too often that the eye sees what it thinks should be there, rather than what actually is there. Cheers.

  3. Yet another intriguing one. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Sadly, despite your praise (and that of Jessica Salmonson), this book has not yet been preserved and digitised so the public could enjoy it as well. A pitty, since it sounds very interesting indeed. I wonder if one could somehow get in touch with Google and ask them to consider doing this book as well, if they aren't going to already ?

    1. I once found a place to query Google Books, but never received a reply. The policies behind what they do seems inscrutable.

    2. Thanks for the speedy response !

      Yes, Google seems rather hard to get in touch with in General. I did actually recieve an email from Gutenberg Australia at least, where I was told they didn't have any Marion Fox novels, as they never even saw any of them. I did manage to find "Ape's Face" elsewhere though.

      Here is a list of interesting sounding books not in copyright in the US that sadly aren't availible online yet, despite for example Mrs. Oliphants were being rather well known.

      James Muddock: Tales of Terror 1899
      Jane Pentzer Myers: Stories of Enchantement or the Ghost Flower, 1901
      Enoch Anson More (jr) :Out of the Past 1895
      Betram Mitford: THE WEIRD OF DEADLY HOLLOW: A TALE OF THE CAPE COLONY, 1891, 2nd issue 1899
      Mrs Oliphant. STORIES OF THE SEEN AND UNSEEN 1889
      Harriet E Orcutt THE EMPIRE OF THE INVISIBLES 1899

  4. Hi there,

    I'm putting together some stories from American folklore as a small collection and have included one or two from Jane Pentzer Myers. I like to try and put a brief biography of the original story tellers / collectors at the end of a collection and wondered, as I've struggled to find much online biographical data, whether I could, with your permission and an acknowledgment & link, use the notes that you have here?

    I look forward to hearing from you in due course,

    Yours sincerely,

    Clive Gilson

    1. Sure! Go ahead. Once your collection is published send in another comment so anyone who finds this blog post will be informed to look for it.