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About the Author: Hallie Erminie Rives

Hallie Erminie Rives (May 2, 1874 – August 16, 1956)[1] was a best-selling popular novelist and wife of the American diplomat Post Wheeler.[2] [3][4]

She was born in Kentucky, the daughter of Stephen Turner Rives and Mary Ragsdale. Her father was from a prominent Virginia family. She was a distant cousin of the novelist and poet Amélie Rives Troubetzkoy. An author's biography in one of her books notes that her father, who had fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War and spent two years in a Northern prison camp, had "made her his little comrade" when she was a child and she was an excellent rifle shot and a bareback rider who was called "the Rives' little wildcat" by outsiders. Her father allowed her to spend so much time outdoors because her mother had been an invalid in the years before she died.

Rives wrote her first novel at age eight, though her writing was not encouraged by her parents. Her first novel was published when she was eighteen. In her novels she addressed politics between the Northern and Southern United States, issues of race, and sex, causing great debate among critics. Among them was Smoking Flax (1897), a novel controversial even at the time, which takes a favorable position on lynching. The novel is about an African American man accused of raping and murdering a white woman who was lynched after the governor commuted his sentence to life. Many of her novels were bestsellers.[5] Other books she wrote were better received by critics than Smoking Flax.[6] Her novel, The Castaway, is noted for being the subject of a Supreme Court copyright case, Bobbs-Merrill v. Straus, in which the US Supreme Court recognized the first sale doctrine, permitting purchasers of copies of books to resell them without seeking permission from the copyright holder.[7]

She married Wheeler in 1906 in Tokyo. A wedding announcement noted that Wheeler initially considered Rives "rather severe on men" in her books and she considered him "none too charitable concerning the faults of women" in his book Reflections of a Bachelor. They met at a reception in New York and began a friendship that eventually led to marriage.[6] She accompanied him to posts across Europe, Asia and South America throughout his career in foreign service. She and her husband co-wrote Dome of Many-Coloured Glass in 1952 about their lives in the United States Foreign Service.[4]


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ISBN10: 1444607308 | ISBN13: 9781444607307

Hallie Erminie Rives (1876-1956) was an American author. She was a member of one of America's oldest families and the wife of a prominent American diplomat. She wrote The Modern and Complete Book of Etiquette (1939). As a novelist she wrote several best sellers, including: Smoking Flax (1897), A Furnace of Earth (1900), The Castaway (1904), In the Wake of War (1905) and Satan Sanderson (1907).

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