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About the Author: Amélie Rives

*See also Amélie Rives Chanler Troubetzkoy

Amelie Rives was born in 1863 in Richmond, Virginia to noted engineer Alfred L. Rives and the former Sadie MacMurdo. She was named after her aunt Amélie, a goddaughter of French Queen Marie-Amélie. She was a goddaughter of Robert E. Lee and a granddaughter of the engineer and Senator William Cabell Rives, who had also been American ambassador to France.
Rives wrote at least twenty-four volumes of fiction, numerous uncollected poems, and Herod and Marianne (1889), a verse drama. In 1888, she published the novel The Quick or the Dead?, her most famous and popular work, which sold 300,000 copies. The work depicted the erotic passions of a newly widowed woman and earned Rives notoriety. Her 1914 novel, World's End was reputed to be "the best seller in New York city".
Later she turned to theater and began writing plays for Broadway. Her play The Fear Market ran for 118 performances at the Booth Theatre in 1916.
Amélie Rives married John Armstrong Chanler, a great-great grandson of John Jacob Astor and the oldest of 10 orphaned siblings, born to John Winthrop Chanler and Margaret Astor Ward of the Astor family. The Rives-Chanler marriage was scandalous, but unhappy. The couple spent seven years as husband and wife, but most of the time lived apart. Rives flirted with George Curzon[5] and began using drugs.
In 1896, just four months after their divorce, she married Prince Pierre Troubetzkoy, an artist and aristocrat after Oscar Wilde introduced them in London. The couple resided at Castle Hill, near Cismont, Virginia.

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