Eleanor was an American novelist. The daughter of Llewella French (née Woolson) and Francis Fletcher Hodgman, she was trained as a singer, attending New England Conservatory for several years. In 1892, she married John Lyman Porter on 3 May 1892 and relocated to Massachusetts, after which she began writing and publishing her short stories and later novels.
Beginning with her first novel, Cross Currents (1907), Porter was popular with readers, who loved her sentimental tales of orphaned heiresses and lost little girls. But her novel Pollyanna (1913), about a young girl who looks for the good in even the most dire hardships, eclipsed them all, spending two years on the best-sellers list and ultimately leading to a play, a movie, a calendar, and a daily almanac of reasons to be glad. Within a decade, the word “Pollyanna” entered the American lexicon, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “an excessively or blindly optimistic person” and one who is cheerful to a fault.
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