Women In Business: Miriam Florence Leslie

Biography of Miriam Florence Leslie, a successful nineteenth century business woman and publisher.

It has often been said that "truth is stranger than fiction", and the life of Mrs. Miriam Leslie offers proof of that statement. Her life contains abundant material for a most fascinating novel.

Born in New Orleans in 1836, Miriam was the daughter of Charles Follin and Susan Danforth Follin, and is French Creole by birth. Her girlhood home was one of luxury and ease and her educational advantages and attainments came out of this opulent lifestyle. Her father, had much to do with Miriam's success. He urged her and encouraged her in all her accomplishments.

In March of 1854, seventeen year old Miriam was married to David C. Peacock. This was an arranged marriage that did not last and was annulled two years later. By the time she was twenty-one she married again, this time to a much older man, Ephraim G. Squier, a notable archeologist who was quite wealthy. Mr. Squier lost money and became associated with the Leslie publications of that era as editor. Miriam became fashion editor of the famous Leslie's Weekly. After sixteen years of marriage, they were divorced. A year or two later she married Mr. Frank Leslie, head of the Leslie publications.

Miriam was of great assistance to him in his business and they were prosperous for some years. But reverses came in the panic of 1877. About this time, Mr. Leslie found out that he had a tumor, which was terminal. To Miriam, his beloved wife, he told to "go to my office and sit in my place and do my work, until my debts are paid." When he died, there were debts amounting to nearly $300,000.

By act of legislature she took the name of Frank Leslie and carried on the business with marked success. It's really remarkable that a woman of such business ability and heavy responsibilities should at the same time be a social leader. She has shone in European society, where she was most cordially received. Her command of the French, Spanish, and Italian languages opened the way, and her personal beauty and culture made her a center of attraction

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