Davis, Mollie Evelyn Moore (1844–1909)

By: C. W. Wilkinson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 1, 1995

Mollie Evelyn Moore Davis, poet and editor, daughter of John and Mary Ann (Crutchfield) Moore, was born Mary Evalina Moore on April 12, 1844, in Talladega, Alabama. The family moved to Texas in 1855 and lived at Manchaca, San Marcos, Garden Valley, Tyler, and Galveston. At the age of fourteen Mary Evalina Moore changed her name to Mollie Evelyn Moore. At the age of sixteen she began writing for Tyler newspapers, and her poems attracted the attention of Edward H. Cushing of the Houston Telegraph. During the next five years, which she spent in Tyler and Houston, she wrote most of her best poetry and gained a statewide reputation. In 1867, when her family moved to Galveston, her poems appeared in the Galveston News and her first collection, Minding the Gap and Other Poems, was published by Cushing. Enlarged editions appeared in 1869 and 1872. In 1874 she married Thomas E. Davis, who in 1879 joined the staff of the New Orleans Times. Mrs. Davis, already nationally recognized as a poet, became a leader in social and literary life in New Orleans as she had been during the previous five years in Houston. In a series of essays, "Kerenhappuch and I," in the Picayune, she described her experiences in learning the city. On visits to her brother's family in Comanche, Texas, she conquered tuberculosis and collected story material. By 1889, when she became editor of the Picayune, her home was a literary salon. Her works are divided between Texas and New Orleans backgrounds, between juvenile and adult literature, between poetry and prose, and between realism and romanticism. Although many of her poems are uncollected and some were never printed, she published twelve books in addition to the first volume of poetry: In War Times at La Rose Blanche (1888); Under the Man-Fig (1895), a novel of East Texas; A Christmas Masque of Saint Roch (1896); Under Six Flags (1897), a school history of Texas; An Elephant's Track and Other Stories (1897); The Wire-Cutters (1899), a novel of West Texas; The Queen's Garden (1900); Jaconetta: Her Loves (1901); A Bunch of Roses and Other Parlor Plays (1903); The Little Chevalier (1903); The Price of Silence (1907); and The Moons of Balbanca (1908). Selected Poems (1927) was published by friends years after her death on January 1, 1909. In 1955 a Japanese firm published her Ships of Desire.

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Mollie Evelyn Moore Davis Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. In Memoriam: Mary Evelyn Moore Davis (New Orleans: Picayune Job Print, 1909?). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Clyde Winfield Wilkinson, The Broadening Stream: The Life and Literary Career of Mollie E. Moore Davis (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois, 1951).
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Dramatists and Novelists
  • Fiction
  • Poets
  • Women

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

C. W. Wilkinson, “Davis, Mollie Evelyn Moore,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 09, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/davis-mollie-evelyn-moore.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995

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