Barr, Amelia Edith Huddleston (1831–1919)

Revised by: Paul Adams

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 3, 2017

Amelia Barr, writer, daughter of William Henry and Mary (Singleton) Huddleston, was born in Ulverston, Lancashire, England, on March 29, 1831. Her father was a Methodist minister. She was educated in music and literature and taught in a girls' school before she married Robert Barr, an accountant, of Glasgow. After Barr lost his fortune, the couple sailed for America. They lived briefly in Chicago and Memphis and in 1856 settled in Austin, Texas, where Barr found employment as an auditor for the state of Texas. During the ten years in which Austin was their home, Amelia Barr took an active part in the social life of the frontier capital and wrote in her diary vivid pictures of many Texans and local events and scenes. In 1914 much of this material appeared in her autobiography, All the Days of My Life! Her accounts included women, Sam Houston, Indians who visited the capital, and local affairs concerning the Civil War. Though she did not show it outwardly, Amelia Barr was a mystic and deeply religious. Her life was governed by intuitions and prophetic dreams, many of which she related in striking detail. In 1866 the family moved to Galveston, where Barr had found new employment. In the yellow fever scourge of the next year, Barr and three sons died, leaving Mrs. Barr and three daughters. For a while she operated a boardinghouse on Tremont Street, but when this venture failed she went to New York. She was employed as a governess before turning to writing, a profession in which she found a ready market for scores of articles, poems, and short stories. Her reputation as a novelist was firmly established with the publication in 1885 of Jan Vedder's Wife. Remember the Alamo, the novel for which Texans know her best, was published in 1888. From 1885 to 1911 a single firm published forty-two novels by Amelia Barr. Other publishers launched additional books, and countless shorter pieces flowed from her pen. Her literary success brought her comfort, security, and considerable means, as well as fame. Mrs. Barr died in New York on March 10, 1919, and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

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Paul Adams, "Amelia Barr in Texas, 1856–1868," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 49 (January 1946). Amelia Edith Barr Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Hildegarde Hawthorne, "Amelia E. Barr–Some Recollections," Bookman, May 1920. M. N. Howard, The Novels of Amelia Barr (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1943). Kate Dickinson Sweetser, "Amelia Barr and the Novice," Bookman, October 1923.

  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Memoirs, Diaries, Letters, and Travel
  • Dramatists and Novelists
  • Fiction
  • Peoples
  • English
  • Authors and Writers
  • Women
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Central Texas
  • Austin

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Revised by Paul Adams, “Barr, Amelia Edith Huddleston,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

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August 3, 2017

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