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She was educated at her father's home. On her father's side she was descended from Dr. Comfort Starr of Ashford, County Kent, England, who settled at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1633, and, on her mother's side, from the "Allans of the Bars", who came from Chelmsford Essex, England. She inherited the love of literature from her parents, and when thirteen years of age went to Boston, where she finished her studies in 1845. In Boston she opened a studio, but, the climate proving unfavorable to her health, she moved to Brooklyn, thence to Philadelphia. She finally accepted a position as teacher in the family of a wealthy planter at Natchez, Mississippi. In 1853 she returned to Brooklyn as teacher of drawing in a boarding school. In 1848 she returned to Philadelphia. It was during this visit to her family she met the Rt. Rev. Francis Patrick Kenrick, who later became Archbishop of Baltimore. It was from this saintly and learned churchman that the germs of faith already in her heart received their first activities. After an incessant struggle of nine years she was received into the Catholic Church at Boston by Bishop Fitzpatrick on 23 December, 1854, and made her first Communion on the following Christmas morning in the chapel of the Sisters of Charity. In 1856 Miss Starr entered upon a larger field of labor. In Chicago she found her life work. She labored with her pen, and with the pencil illustrated her books. She lectured throughout the United States, and in the auditorium of her home annually gave a course of ten lectures upon art and literature.
Her published works include:
In recognition of this last work Leo XIII sent to her a beautiful medallion. She was the first woman to receive the Laetare Medal, which was conferred on her in 1885 by the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
APA citation. (1912). Eliza Allen Starr. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14250b.htm
MLA citation. "Eliza Allen Starr." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14250b.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Tomas Hancil.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
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