Thomas B. Read, ed. Female
Poets of America (1849), plate opposite p. 225.
B. WELBY (1819 – 1852)
Shortly after her birth, Amelia Welby's family settled in Baltimore, where she
spent her childhood and attended a private school for girls. An awkward
child, she felt self-conscious about her cleft palate (which she eventually
underwent surgery to repair) and unsettled by her mother's death. She began
to write poetry at an early age, and her first published piece appeared in
the Cambridge Chronicle
when she was twelve years old. In 1834 she moved with her family to Louisville, Kentucky,
where she spent the rest of her life and achieved recognition for her poetry.
She began contributing to the Louisville Daily Journal, whose editor, George D.
Prentice, mentored and promoted her career. Other editors soon began to
reprint her poems in their own journals so that her work appeared throughout
the South and in some northern periodicals as well. Her 1845 collection Poems, by Amelia sold out so quickly
after its printing in Boston
that publishers fought a bidding war over subsequent editions.
In 1838 she married businessman George Welby, and their
home served as a gathering place for Louisville
notables. She died in 1852 after the death of their only child.
Other portraits appear in:
Sarah J. Hale, ed. Woman’s
Record (1853), p. 811; also 1855 ed.
Evert A. and George L. Duyckinck, eds. Cyclopaedia of American Literature
(1855), vol. 2, p. 677.
Repository (November, 1855), plate preceding p. 641.