Mary Canfield Ballard

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Mary Canfield Ballard
"A woman of the century"
"A woman of the century"
BornJune 22, 1852
Troy, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedSeptember 7, 1927(1927-09-07) (aged 75)
Resting placeSaint Johns Cemetery, Troy, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Pen nameMinnie C. Ballard
Occupationpoet, hymnwriter
Alma materPennsylvania State Normal School
Notable works... Idle Fancies
RelativesEthan Allen

Mary Canfield Ballard (pen name, Minnie C. Ballard; June 22, 1852 – September 7, 1927) was an American poet and hymnwriter.

Early years[edit]

Mary Canfield Ballard was born in Troy, Pennsylvania, June 22, 1852. Her parents were Orrin Porter Ballard and Eliza Ann Spalding Ballard. On her mother's side, Ballard was related to Colonel Ethan Allen, of Revolutionary fame. Her father was a self-made man and accumulated considerable property in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.[1][2]

She was sent to the Pennsylvania State Normal School when about fourteen years old, but, growing homesick, she returned to her home in Troy where she finished her education.[1][2]

Her early literary efforts were very ambitious ones. When she was only thirteen years old, she wrote a continued story about a hair-pin, managing to introduce an elopement, an angry father, tears, repentance and forgiveness. She also wrote an essay on Sappho. She began to write poems at the age of sixteen.[3][2]


Ballard was the youngest of a large family, but, her brothers and sisters being married and her father and mother dead, she lived alone. [1][2]

She was devoted to painting, music and literature and was a prolific contributor to periodicals under the pen name "Minnie C. Ballard" ever since she sent her first poem to William Cullen Bryant, who gave it a place in the Evening Post. Her first published productions made their appearance when she was twenty-one years old. Since her appearance in the poets' corner of the Evening Post, she contributed occasionally to some thirty periodicals. Ballard published Idle Fancies (Troy, Pa., 1883), for private circulation, and a new edition for the general public (Philadelphia, 1884).[3][2] Ballard contributed to the Philadelphia Times, The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Louisville Courier-Journal, Godey's Lady's Book, Peterson's Magazine, and the St. Louis Magazine.[4]

She wrote the lyrics for the hymns, "Easter Hymn" (first published in The International Lesson Hymnal (Chicago, Illinois: David C. Cook, 1878), number 108., music by E. B. Smith, 1878)[5] and "Shall It Be You or I?".

She died September 7, 1927, and is buried at Saint Johns Cemetery, Troy, Pennsylvania.[4]

Selected works[edit]

  • ... Idle Fancies, 1884


  1. ^ a b c Willard & Livermore 1893, p. 50.
  2. ^ a b c d e Moulton 1894, p. 127.
  3. ^ a b Willard & Livermore 1893, p. 51.
  4. ^ a b "Mary Canfield Ballard". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Easter Hymn". Retrieved 16 August 2018.


External links[edit]